Millennium Post

July exports up 14.3%; trade deficit at near 5-year high

New Delhi: India's exports rose by 14.32 per cent to $25.77 billion in July mainly on account of better performance of gems and jewellery sector as well as petroleum products, even as trade deficit soared to a near five-year high of $18 billion.

The merchandise exports had totalled $22.54 billion in July 2017.

The trade data released by the commerce ministry on Tuesday also revealed that imports during July were valued at $43.79 billion, a growth of 28.81 per cent compared to $33.99 billion in the year ago period.

The sharp surge in imports led to worsening of trade deficit to $18.02 billion in the reporting month as against a deficit of $11.45 billion during July 2017.

"It is mentioned that the global Brent price ($/bbl) has increased by 53.16 per cent in July 2018 vis- -vis July 2017 as per data available from US Energy Information Administration (EIA)," the commerce ministry said while releasing the data.

Over 57 per cent increase in oil import bill ($12.35 billion) and 41 per cent jump in gold imports to $2.96 billion during July is believed to be main reason behind high trade deficit.

As regards exports, the outward shipments of petroleum products surged from $3 billion in July last year to $3.9 billion, showing a growth of about 30 per cent.

Export of gems and jewellery was up 24.62 per cent to $3.18 billion.

Meanwhile, the RBI data on trade in services said exports (receipts) during June 2018 were valued at $16.87 billion or up 4.32 per cent on an annual basis.

Services imports were $10.3 billion in June, up by 0.89 per cent over the same month last year.

The data on services is released with a lag of one month.

Commenting on the merchandise trade data, President of exporters' apex body FIEO Ganesh Kumar Gupta said that consecutively for third month in a row the outbound shipments have shown double digit growth, however the rate of growth has declined.

The FIEO noted that MSME units particularly labour-intensive sectors such as marine products, readymade garments, cotton yarn/fabs/made-ups, agri products, leather and leather products and handicrafts are in the negative territory.

"Though some of the labour-intensive sectors including gems & jewellery, carpets and jute manufacturing including floor covering have either shown impressive growth or have improved," the exporters body said.

Cumulative value of exports for the period April-July 2018-19 was $108.24 billion as against $94.76 billion, showing a growth of 14.23 per cent.

Imports during April-July totalled $171.20 billion as against $146.26 billion in the year ago period, registering a growth of 17.05 per cent.

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