India’s trade deficit widens to $17.13 billion in October 2018

India’s exports rose by 17.86 per cent to $26.98 billion in October mainly due to the low base effect even as trade deficit widened to $17.13 billion, according to the commerce ministry data.

The exports on monthly basis were down compared to $27.95 billion in September 2018. Imports during October also rose by 17.62 per cent to $44.11 billion, leading to widening of trade deficit to $17.13 billion.

The deficit widened despite a steep decline of 42.9 per cent in gold imports to $1.68 billion during the month under review. The trade gap was $14.61 billion in October 2017. Exporters attributed close to 18 per cent growth in exports in October to a favourable base effect, as the foreign shipments in the comparable month of the previous fiscal were quite low at $22.89 billion.

The Federation of India Export Organisations (FIEO) said that exports in October last year were even lower than that of September this year.

The sectors which recorded healthy growth in October includes petroleum (49.3 per cent), engineering (8.87 per cent), chemicals (34 per cent), pharma (13 per cent), and gems and jewellery sector (5.5 per cent). On the other hand, exports of several agri commodities recorded negative growth and that includes coffee, rice, tobacco, cashew and oil seeds.

During the April-October period of the current fiscal, exports grew by 13.27 per cent to $191 billion. Imports were up by 16.37 per cent to $302.47 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $111.46 billion during the first seven months of the current fiscal. It was $91.28 billion in April-October 2017-18.

Oil imports in October 2018 increased by 52.64 per cent to $14.21 billion. The non-oil imports rose by 6 per cent to $29.9 billion in the month. Oil imports during April-October this fiscal increased by 50.48 per cent to $83.94 billion.

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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