Millennium Post

December trade deficit at 10-month low of $ 9.43 bn

Gold imports showed an increase from year-ago level to $1.34 billion in December, but it is a substantial decline from the previous month ($5.61 billion).

As per the data released by the government, imports bill declined by 4.8 per to $34.8 billion during the month from $36.6 billion from December 2013, leading to improvement in the trade balance
situation. Exports too fell by 3.8 per cent to $25.4 billion.

Outbound shipments were valued at $26.4 billion in the same month last year.

Gold imports at $1.34 billion in December were 7.4 per cent higher than the corresponding month of the previous fiscal. However, it is a sharp decline from previous month when inbound shipments stood at $5.6 billion.

Oil imports during the month under review were valued at $9.94 billion, down 28.6 per cent from USD 13.92 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Oil imports during April-December, 2014-15 were down 4.7 per cent to $116.5 billion from $122.2 billion in the corresponding of 2013-14.

Global oil prices have slumped to near six-year low of around $46 a barrel, helping importing countries like India to cut back on their dollar payments.

Exports in April-December totalled to $241.15 billion as against $231.8 billion in the comparable period last fiscal, a growth of 4.02 per cent.

The imports during April-December was $351.2 billion as against $338.9 billion, registering a growth of 3.63 per cent.

The trade deficit in December is down 44 per cent compared to November. In December 2013, it was $10.2 billion. The previous low in trade balance was $8.13 billion in February, 2014.

The trade deficit April-December is $110 billion compared to $107 billion in the same period last fiscal.

Meanwhile, India’s steel exports to Thailand have been severely impacted after Bangkok levied safeguard duty last year in addition to prevailing anti-dumping duty on Indian shipments, sources said. Industry sources said the move has led to a drastic fall in exports of hot rolled coil (HR Coil) to Thailand at 13,000 tonnes during April-October period of current fiscal against 2 lakh tonnes in the entire 2013-14.

India’s steel makers, mainly from Western coasts, started exporting steel to Thailand in galore from 2012-13 to cash on the lucrative demand-supply gap. Comparatively lower logistics was an added incentive. Exports of HR coil from India took a upturn to three lakh tonnes in 2012-13 from just 28,000 a year earlier. However, it fell to 2 lakh tonnes in the next year. Thailand levied the safeguard duty towards the middle of last year.

Thailand’s annual requirement of steel is around 100 lakh tonnes and it produces nearly half of that domestically.

This gave a room for Indian steel makers who were on the lookout for lucrative and cost-effective export markets as domestic demand was not growing in desired proportion.
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