Gold imports in November surged six-fold to $5.61 billion, sending the trade deficit for the month to an 18-month high of $16.86 billion and triggered fresh concerns over current account deficit.

Gold bars

The country imported gold worth $836 million in November last year.

Trade Secretary Rajeev Kher on Tuesday called the increase "phenomenal" and termed the development as a cause of "concern," adding that the government will watch the impact from a recent easing of gold import rules. The November data was released on Monday.

November gold imports are also 34% higher than the $4.1 billion of October this year.

It may be recalled that in November the government decided to scrap a rule which mandated 20% export of all gold imported into the country. 

The increase in gold imports has widened the current account deficit and has seen the rupee fall to a 13-month low of 63.54 to the dollar.