Exports up 5.2% to $25.9 bn in April; trade deficit at $13.7 bn
New Delhi: India's exports rose by 5.17 per cent year-on-year to $25.9 billion in April on back of good show by sectors like engineering, pharmaceutical and chemicals, according to the commerce ministry data.
Imports during the month were valued at $39.6 billion, up 4.6 per cent over April 2017.
The gap between imports and exports or trade deficit was marginally higher at $13.7 billion during April 2018 compared to $13.24 billion in April 2017, the data showed.
Merchandise exports were in negative zone in March 2018.
Major commodity groups showing positive export growth in April on annual basis include engineering goods (17.63 per cent), chemicals (38.48 per cent), pharmaceuticals (13.56 per cent), yarn and handloom products (15.66 per cent) and plastic and linoleum (30.03 per cent).
Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in April 2018 were valued at $19.8 billion as against $17.7 billion in April 2017, showing an increase of 11.73 per cent, according to the data released by the Commerce Ministry.
Oil imports were valued at $10.4 billion, up 41.45 per cent over April 2017.
"In this connection it is mentioned that the global Brent prices ($/bbl) have increased by 35.20 per cent in April 2018 vis- -vis April 2017 as per World Bank commodity price data," the ministry said.
Non-oil imports during April 2018 were estimated at $29.21 billion, which was 4.3 per cent lower than non-oil imports of $30.5 billion in April 2017.
Gold imports dipped by 33 per cent to $2.58 billion in April.
On trade in services, based on RBI data which comes with a lag of a month, the ministry said the outward shipments during March 2018 were valued at $16.8 billion registering a positive growth of 7.16 per cent.
The services imports were estimated at $10.2 billion , up 1.35 per cent over March 2017.
India recorded a trade surplus in services sector at $6.5 billion.
Exports had dipped by 0.66 per cent to $29.11 billion in March, even as foreign shipments increased by 9.78 per cent for the full 2017-18 fiscal.
Commenting on the data, President of exports' body FIEO Ganesh Kumar Gupta said that the exports data is not encouraging. "Almost all the labour-intensive sectors of export including gems and jewellery, leather and leather products, RMG of all textiles, jute manufacturing including floor covering, carpets, handicrafts, agri products and many other sector of exports, dominated by MSMEs are in negative territory," he said.
Gupta said that domestic issues including access to credit, cost of credit especially for MSMEs and pending GST refund affecting exports should be seriously looked into as global challenges and increasing protectionism, has also added to the woes of the exporters.
Principal Economist with ICRA Aditi Nayar said the merchandise trade deficit increased modestly with a contraction in imports of gold and precious and semi precious stones, and electronic goods, allaying the impact of higher crude oil prices.
Nevertheless, the continued rise in the crude oil price in the ongoing month does not augur well for the upcoming print of the merchandise trade deficit, she said.