India's gold imports dipped nearly 18 per cent to 28 tonnes in November compared to the same month of the previous year as prices of the precious metal soared to record levels around Rs18,000 per 10 gm, dampening consumer demand.
The corresponding import figure for November 2008 was 34 tonnes, according to data released by the Bombay Bullion Association. Gold imports have been sluggish during 2009 and stood at 172.7 tonnes during January-November, compared with 393 tonnes in the same period last year, said the BBA.
Gold imports into the country declined with prices generally ruling between Rs16,000 and 17,000 levels, slackening consumer demand, agency reports quoted BBA director Suresh Hundia as saying.
In overseas markets, gold prices shot up from $1,043 to a $1,181 an ounce due to a weakening dollar and a sudden rise in demand from central banks. The Reserve Bank of India bought 200 tonnes of gold from the International Monetary Fund in October.
However, the shipments showed a rise of two tonnes in October 2009, at 26 tonnes, due to increased buying during the peak marriage season, from the last week of November to the first week of December.
This year, India imported just 1.8 tonnes of gold in January, followed by zero in February and March due to a lack of demand after the surge in prices. April again saw a surge in imports to 20 tonnes on account of 'Akshaya Tritiya', a spring festival that is considered auspicious for buying gold.