The country’s merchandise exports grew a robust 9.59 per cent in October to $23.51 billion and imports rose for the first time since November 2014, lending credence to the claim that a slowdown may have bottomed out.
Importantly, while overall imports rose 8.11 per cent to $33.67 billion, non-oil imports rose 9.28 per cent in October, suggests growing appetite of the economy.
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Higher growth in October also partly narrowed a sharp decline in non-oil imports to just 9.33 per cent between April and October. Gold imports, too, rose 108 per cent to $3.5 billion in October, as jewellery ramped up purchases to cater for demand in the build-up to Dhanteras.
Higher imports augur well for export prospects as well, as the share of import-intensive export sectors — such as gems & jewellery, chemicals and transport equipment and petroleum products — in overall exports has risen from 35 per cent in 2000 to around 45 per cent in 2015.
Similarly, non-oil exports rose 9.9 per cent in October, improving from a 5.44 per cent rise in the previous month and driving up growth in this segment to 1.8 per cent in the April-October period from a year earlier. As many as 18 of the 30 key product categories witnessed a rise in exports in October.
The rise in imports widened the trade deficit to $10.16 billion, the highest since December last year. Exports rose for the first time in June and then in September after falling in each month since December 2014. Imports continued to fall since December 2014.