India’s February 2018 trade deficit increased to $12 billion

India’s trade deficit, the gap between exports and imports, widened 36.36 per cent from a year ago at $12 billion in February 2018, but narrowed from an over four-year high of $16.29 billion recorded in January.

India’s exports rose 4.5 per cent year-on-year to $25.8 billion in February, while imports grew 10.4 percent to $37.8 billion in the same period. The government is looking at a 6.5 percent export growth for the year, the union commerce ministry said in a press release.

The growth in exports was led by increasing outbound shipments of petroleum products, and organic, inorganic chemicals. Outbound shipments of petroleum products went up 27.44 per cent to $3.23 billion in February. Export of organic and inorganic chemicals rose 30.41 per cent to $1.66 billion.

Exports of gems and jewellery, which is typically the second major contributor to the bill, declined 5.14 per cent to $3.81 billion in February. Engineering goods exports also saw a marginal decline last month.

India’s textile exports too dropped 10.25 per cent to $1.44 billion during the month.

In the previous quarter (October-December 2017), according to government data, trade deficit widened to nearly $43 billion from $32 billion in the July-September 2017 period.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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