By Shruti Srivastava and Swansy Afonso
Gold imports by India slumped by about 99% for a second straight month in May, disrupted by restrictions to control the coronavirus outbreak in the world’s second-biggest consuming nation.
Inbound shipments fell to 1.3 tons last month from 105.8 tons a year earlier, according to a person familiar with the data, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. That comes after shipments plunged to 60 kilograms in April, the lowest monthly imports in at least a decade. Finance Ministry spokesman Rajesh Malhotra didn’t immediately respond to two calls to his mobile phone during office hours.
India has slowly started easing a nationwide lockdown that has grounded airlines and battered the economy since it was imposed on March 25. Still, jewelers aren’t optimistic of demand picking up before September at the earliest as financial stress remains elevated and local gold prices hover near record highs.
Imports by India have slumped by more than 80% during the first five months of 2020 to 75.46 tons, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Titan Co., India’s biggest jeweler by market value, Monday said its income from the jewelry unit fell nearly 6% in the three months ended March, with a significant hit to sales in the second half of March as all stores were shut because of virus-related curbs.