India's gold imports, which have a bearing on the country's current account deficit (CAD), surged by about 73 per cent to $45.1 billion during April-February this fiscal on account of higher demand, according to official data.

The imports stood at $26.11 billion in April-February 2021.

In February 2022, however, imports of the precious metal dipped by 11.45 per cent to $4.7 billion, as per the data by the commerce ministry.

The surge in gold imports during the 11-month period contributed to the widening of the trade deficit to $176 billion, against $89 billion in April-February 2021.

India is the world's second-biggest gold consumer after China. The imports mainly take care of the demand by the jewellery industry.

The gems and jewellery exports during the first nine months of the current fiscal grew by 57.5 per cent to $5.25 billion.

India's current account slipped into a deficit of $9.6 billion or 1.3 per cent of GDP in the September quarter, according to the Reserve Bank.

The current account, which records the value of exports and imports of goods and services, along with international transfers of capital, was in surplus both in the quarter-ago and year-ago periods.

Commenting on rising gold imports, Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) Chairman Colin Shah said that the monthly average imports of gold during April-February 2022 are still at 76.57 tonnes, relatively lower than the usual level.

Gold imports in volume terms in April-February 2022 stood at 842.28 tonnes, which is below the usual imports in the same period, ranging from 690 to 890 tonnes, he added.