New Delhi: Gold imports plunged by 38.54 per cent to USD 1.2 billion in June while inbound shipments of silver fell by more than a quarter in the month.
Gold imports were worth USD 1.96 billion in June 2015.
Meanwhile, the government has announced launch of fourth tranche of sovereign gold bond scheme from July 18 in a bid to check the demand for physical gold.
The Reserve Bank has fixed the issue price of bond at Rs 3,119 per gram. The rate has been fixed on the basis of simple average of closing price of gold of 999 purity for the week July 11 to 15, 2016 as published by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association (IBJA).
Government has netted 3.1 tonnes of idle household and temple gold under the monetisation scheme since its launch in November 2015.
India imports about 1,000 tonnes of gold every year and the precious metal is the second highest component of the import bill after crude oil. An estimated 20,000 tonnes of gold is lying with households and temples.
As per the data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry, the silver imports were recorded at USD 249.39 million in June as against USD 342.37 million, registering a decline of 27.16 per cent year-on-year.
Also, shipments of pearls, precious and semi-precious stones showed a decline of 13.52 per cent in June.
Imports of coal, coke and briquettes were USD 1.07 billion, down 12.95 per cent. Imports of fertiliser, petroleum products, and iron and steel too witnessed significant decline in June.