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Switzerland accounts for half of India’s gold imports in FY21

Sat July 17 2021


Swiss gold accounted for almost half of India’s imports of the yellow metal, at $16.3 billion, in 2020-21. India imported gold worth $34.6 billion last fiscal against $28.2 billion in the previous year despite the raging Covid-19 pandemic.


Among India’s top 10 import partners, inbound shipments increased from Switzerland only in the last fiscal, up 7.8% to $18.2 billion, led by gold. Moreover, the European country replaced Saudi Arabia to become the fourth-largest import partner of India while the West Asian country fell a rank.


Total imports from China fell 0.07% to $65.21 billion but the country remained India’s top source of shipments, followed by the US and the UAE. Germany entered the top 10 list of India’s import sources in the last fiscal, replacing Indonesia.


India is the world’s second largest consumer of gold after China.


“Switzerland is the largest gold refining centre and transit hub in the world, and imports have been increasing from there for quite some time for this reason,” said an official, who did not wish to be identified. Last year, India imported gold worth $4.19 billion from the UAE, followed by South Africa at $2.5 billion. Unwrought forms of gold including bars, gold plated with platinum or in semi manufactured forms and powder forms were the key items that India imported.


“Best gold refineries of the world are there in Switzerland with the finest quality gold and consumers prefer buying Swiss gold than that from other countries,” said an official of the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, requesting not to be identified.


The government reduced the import duty on the yellow metal to 10% from 12.5%, including 7.5% customs duty and a 2.5% agriculture infrastructure and development cess.


In the first quarter of this financial year, India’s gold imports rose a whopping 1046.7% to $7.8 billion, data released by the commerce and industry ministry showed. Gold is the second largest product in India’s import basket, with about 8.8% share.