Trade deficit narrowed to over a five-year low of $5.07 billion in March, with imports declining sharply by 21.6 per cent year-on-year as against a decline of 5.5 per cent of exports. Imports of oil and gold — the two highest constituents of India’s import bill — registered a sharp decline in March, falling by 35.30 per cent and 80.5 per cent, respectively.
Exports declined for the sixteenth straight month in March to $22.72 billion, while imports fell to $27.79 billion during the month.
The country imported gold worth $972.96 million in March as against $4.98 billion in the same period a year ago. Oil imports during April-March 2015-16 were valued at $82.67 billion, 40.2 per cent lower than the same period last year. Non-oil imports too dipped by 17.92 per cent to $22.98 billion in March.
For the financial year 2015-16, India’s trade deficit stood at $118.5 billon, compared with $137.7 billion in the previous financial year.
Exports for the financial year ended March stood at $261.1 billion, down 15.9 per cent from last year, while imports declined 15.3 per cent to $379.6 billion, data released by Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed.
“The trend of falling exports is in tandem with other major world economies. The growth in exports have fallen for the United States (10.81 per cent), European Union (7.40 per cent), China (11.37 per cent) and Japan (12.85 per cent) for January 2016 over the corresponding period previous year as per World Trade Organization statistics,” the ministry said.
Overseas shipments of petroleum products shrank 21.43 per cent to $2.07 billion in March, while that of engineering goods declined by 11.29 per cent to $5.34 billion.
Imports of electronic goods increased by 19 per cent to $3.7 billion in March, while silver imports declined 62.42 per cent to $210.94 million during the month.
Last week, finance minister Arun Jaitley during his ongoing visit to US had expressed concern over slowing exports, saying “one of the biggest areas of worry has been the declining exports.”
Jaitley had even said that G20 nations should stop currency war through “competitive devaluation” and trade protectionist measures.
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