Exports up 19% in August, imports rise 25%..Trade deficit continues to worry


New Delhi, India’s merchandise exports rose by 19.21 per cent in August to $27.84 billion from $23.36 billion during the corresponding month of last year, official data showed on Friday. According to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, engineering goods, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, organic and inorganic chemicals and drugs and pharmaceuticals segments witnessed a high export growth rate during the month under review.

“Cumulative value of exports for the period April-August 2018-19 was $136.09 billion as against $117.19 billion during the period April-August 2017-18, registering a positive growth of 16.13 per cent in dollar terms,” the ministry said in its review statement.

“Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in August 2018 were $20.70 billion,

as compared to $17.78 billion in August 2017, exhibiting a positive growth of 16.45 per cent.”

As per the data, the country’s imports during the month under review rose by 25.41 per cent to $45.24 billion in August 2018 from $36.07 billion in the like period of 2017.

“Cumulative value of imports for the period April-August 2018-19 was $216.43 billion , as against US $184.45 Billion during the period April-August 2017-18, registering a positive growth of 17.34 per cent in Dollar terms,” the statement said.

Segment-wise, oil imports during August 2018 jumped by 51.62 per cent to $11.83 billion from $7.80 billion imported during August 2017.

The ministry pointed out that global Brent prices ($/bbl) have increased by 42.36 per cent in August 2018 vis-�-vis August 2017.

“The non-oil imports in August 2018 were estimated at $33.41 billion which was 18.17 per cent higher in dollar terms, compared to $28.27 billion in August 2017,” the statement said.

“Non-oil and non-gold imports were $29.77 billion in August 2018, recording a positive growth of 12.84 per cent, as compared to non-oil and non-gold imports in August 2017.”

Additionally, gold imports in July edged-higher by 92.62 per cent to $3.63 billion.

Consequently, India’s merchandise trade deficit widened to $17.39 billion during last month as against $12.72 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year.

“With elevated crude oil prices and an uptick in the tonnage of gold imports, the August 2018 trade balance rose sharply on a yoy (year-on-year) basis,” said Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA.

“While the merchandise trade deficit eased somewhat in sequential months, it stood at an uncomfortably high $35 billion in July-August 2018, which suggests that the current account deficit is likely to cross 3 per cent of GDP in Q2 FY2019.”