New Delhi: Gold imports more than halved to USD 4.97 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal, which is expected to keep a lid on the current account deficit.
The sliding prices of the precious metal in both global and domestic markets are seen as a contributory factor for the 52.5 per cent decline.
Gold imports stood at USD 10.47 billion in April-July of 2015.
The in-bound shipments contracted for the sixth consecutive month in July by 63.65 per cent to USD 1.07 billion, according to Commerce Ministry data.
The contraction in imports helped narrow trade deficit to USD 7.76 billion last month as against USD 13 billion in July 2015.
India is one of the largest gold importers in the world and the imports mainly take care of demand of the jewellery industry.
India's CAD narrowed to 1.3 per cent of GDP in the third quarter of 2015-16 as against 1.5 per cent in the same period of the previous year, primarily due to a lower trade deficit.
With an aim to monetise gold lying idle in households and temples, the government netted 3.1 tonnes of the metal under the sovereign gold bond scheme since its launch in November.
As per the data, silver imports too went down by 80 per cent to USD 54.58 million in July as against USD 277.6 million in the same month last year.
However, in-bound shipments of pearls, precious and semi-precious stones grew 16.3 per cent in July.