India’s exports posted a year-on-year contraction for the seventeenth straight month in April, even as trade deficit narrowed to more than five year low owing to lower oil and gold imports. Exports declined by 6.74 per cent to $20.5 billion on account of sharp fall in shipments of petroleum and engineering products. Imports also contracted by 23.1 per cent to $25.41 billion in the month as against $33 billion in April 2015.
Trade deficit more than halved to $4.84 billion in April as compared to $11 billion in the same month last year.
“The trend of falling exports is in tandem with other major world economies. The growth in exports have fallen for USA (3.87 per cent), EU (0.04 per cent), China (25.34 per cent) and Japan (1.10 per cent) for February over the corresponding period of previous year as per WTO statistics,” the commerce ministry said in a statement. Exports have been registering a year-on-year contraction since December 2014 amid weak global demand.
Oil imports fell by 24.01 per cent to $5.6 billion in April, while non-oil imports fell by 22.83 per cent to $19.75 billion. Gold imports declined sharply by 60.5 per cent to $1.2 billion in April as against $3.13 billion in the same period a year ago. Oil and gold are the highest constituents of India’s import bill.
Imports of electronic goods surpassed gold imports in April at $2.5 billion. However, imports of electronic goods was 23.9 per cent lower than $3.3 billion imported in the same period a year ago. In April, overseas shipments of petroleum products shrank 28.15 per cent to $1.97 billion, while that of engineering goods declined by 19 per cent to $4.76 billion.
Oilmeal exports registered a 63.0 per cent decline in April, falling to 28.5 million, while iron ore exports recorded a whopping 2,895.6 per cent increase to $54.5 million from $1.8 million a year ago. The other sectors which reported negative growth in exports in April included carpet, leather, rice and cashew.