An over six-fold jump in gold imports resulted in overall imports recording a 27 per cent year-on-year jump in November, in turn widening the country’s trade deficit to an 18-month high of $16.86 billion in the month, sparking fresh worries over the current account deficit (CAD).
In the second quarter ended September 30, the CAD stood at a five-quarter high of $10.1 billion or 2.1 per cent of gross domestic product owing mainly to an increase in merchandise imports propelled by rising demand for the yellow metal, while export growth remained slow.
Gold imports in November were $5.61 billion against $836 million in the same month last year. While oil imports fell by 9.7 per cent to $11.71 billion in the month, thanks to a fall in global crude oil prices, non-oil imports, including capital goods, recorded 49.6 per cent growth to $31.10 billion. This resulted in total imports in the month registering 26.79 per cent growth to $42.82 billion.
The imported goods sectors that registered high year-on-year growth included those from segments such as fertilisers (136 per cent growth to $1.1 billion), gold (571 per cent), silver (144 per cent to $644 million), coal (44 per cent to $1.8 billion), chemicals (16 per cent to $1.6 billion), pearls and precious stones (37 per cent to $2.1 billion) and iron and steel (62 per cent to $1.4 billion).
Machinery, electrical and non-electrical imports rose 20.3 per cent to $2.5 billion, while transport equipment imports grew 23 per cent to $2 billion. Electronic goods also registered 29.5 per cent jump to $3 billion.
Meanwhile, exports grew by 7.27 per cent to $25.96 billion after shrinking by a little over 5 per cent in October. The sectors that have fared well include engineering goods (30 per cent growth to $6.6 billion), gems and jewellery (44 per cent to $3.7 billion), chemicals (16 per cent to $1.1 billion) and drugs and pharma (9 per cent to $1.2 billion). FE