New Delhi: The government on Friday reduced the import tariff value of gold from USD 573 per 10 grams to USD 530 per 10 grams, while the value was kept unchanged at USD 1,036 per kg for silver imports.

The tariff value, which is released fortnightly, is the base price on which the customs duty is determined to prevent under-invoicing and discourage import of gold to ease pressure on balance of payments.

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) issued a notification yesterday in this regard, an official release said.

After crude oil, gold is the most imported commodity in India in terms of value.

Bullion traders and jewellers have opposed the recent hikes in tariff value as it would hit demand as the increased costs have to be passed on to consumers.

Early this year, the government had changed the duty structure on gold and silver from specific to value-linked, making precious metals more expensive.

The import duty on gold was fixed at 2 percent of the value, instead of the earlier rate of Rs 300 per 10 grams. On silver, the import duty was pegged at 6 per cent, as against Rs 1,500 per kg earlier.

India, the world's biggest consumer of gold, imported 967 tonnes of gold in 2011.