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Exports rise in December, so does trade deficit

Author: IANS/Tuesday, January 16, 2018/Categories: Economy

Exports rise in December, so does trade deficit

New Delhi - India's exports grew to $27.03 billion in December 2017 from $26.19 billion in November 2017 and $24.05 billion during the corresponding month of the previous year, official data showed.

According to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, exports during last month exhibited a growth of 12.36% on a year-on-year (Y-o-Y) basis.

"Exports during December 2017 have exhibited positive growth of 12.36 per cent in dollar terms vis-à-vis December 2016," the ministry said in a statement.

"Exports have been on a positive trajectory since August 2016 to December 2017 with a dip of 1.1% in the month of October 2017."

The data pointed out that healthy growth in exports was led by "Engineering Goods (25.32%), Petroleum Products (25.15), Gems and Jewellery (2.38), Organic and Inorganic Chemicals (31.36), and Drugs and Pharmaceuticals (6.95)".

"Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in December 2017 were valued at $20,186.36 million as against $18,013.78 million in December 2016 -- an increase of 12.06%," the ministry said.

However, the country's imports during the month under review also increased to $41.91 billion from $40.02 billion in November and $34.60 billion reported for the corresponding period of the previous year.

Segment-wise, the data showed that India's oil imports during December shot up by 34.94% to $10.34 billion, from $7.66 billion in the same month last year.

Non-oil imports during last month stood at $31.56 billion with a growth of 17.19% over $26.93 billion in December 2016.

Consequently, India's merchandise trade deficit widened to $14.88 billion during last month, as against $10.54 billion in the corresponding period of previous year.

"A sharper than expected rise in imports of gold, and pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, amid a considerable decline in the pace of growth of non-oil merchandise exports, bloated the merchandise trade deficit to a three year high $14.9 billion in December 2017," ICRA's Principal Economist Aditi Nayar said.

"Nearly 80% of the $7.3 billion YoY rise in merchandise imports in December 2017 was on account of imports of gold, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, and petroleum, crude and products." 

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