New Delhi, July 18: The lid on the current account deficit is likely to be kept tight, with gold imports falling by about 48 per cent to $3.90 billion in the first quarter of this fiscal.
The import of the yellow metal stood at around $7.51 billion in the corresponding period of the last fiscal.
The sliding prices of the precious metal in both the global and domestic markets are seen as a contributory factor to the plunge.
The inbound shipments contracted for a fifth consecutive month in June by 38.5 per cent to $1.20 billion, according to data from the commerce ministry.
The contraction in imports has helped in narrowing the trade deficit to $8.1 billion last month from $10.8 billion in June 2015.
India is one of the largest gold importers in the world and imports mainly take care of the demand of the jewellery industry.
Meanwhile, the Centre has announced the launch of the fourth tranche of the sovereign gold bond scheme from today in a bid to check the demand for physical gold.
The sovereign gold bond issue price has been fixed at Rs 3,119 per gram. An investor can invest for a minimum unit of one gram and a maximum of 500 grams. The subscription is open till July 22. Earlier, the minimum denomination was 5 gram.
The first three tranches had attracted an investment of Rs 1,318 crore, equivalent to 4.9 tonne of gold at the prices prevailing at those times. With the added features, it is expected that the fourth tranche of the bonds would garner much higher investment.