India’s trade deficit widens to 4-month high at $14.62 billion in May 2018

India’s trade deficit widened to a four-month high of $14.62 billion in May 2018 as imports surged by nearly 15 per cent, according to latest data released by the government.

Commerce ministry said exports in May 2018 rose by 28.18 per cent to $28.86 billion, while imports were up 14.85 per cent to $43.48 billion. In May 2017, exports were $24.01 billion and imports were $37.86 billion.

Higher crude oil price is mainly responsible for the widening of India’s trade deficit by 5.5 per cent to $14.62 billion in May this year, compared to same period last year. Oil imports were up 49.46 per cent to $11.5 billion on back of surge in international crude prices.

India’s gold imports fell 29.85 percent year-on-year to $3.48 billion in May from a year ago, the statement said.

Although imports grew nearly 15 per cent mainly on the account of higher crude oil prices, higher pace of growth in exports, which grew by 20 per cent, offset the impact of crude oil shock to the country.

Non-petroleum and non gems and jewellery exports during May 2018 were valued at $19.94 billion as compared to $17.51 billion during May 2017 exhibiting a positive growth of 13.85 per cent.

A growth in exports, excluding re-exporting sectors like petroleum and jewellery, shows general trend in export-focused industries in the country.

The exports from drugs and pharmaceuticals sector increased by 25.67 per cent, while engineering goods 14.77 per cent, organic and inorganic chemicals 34.21 per cent, cotton yarn, fabs, made-ups, handloom products 24.7 per cent and petroleum products 104.47 per cent.

Imports were led by sectors like petroleum, machinery, electronic goods, coal, and chemicals.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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