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Led by gold imports, May trade deficit jumps to 30-month high

Spike in gold imports swells trade gap to $13.84 bn; exports up by 8% at $24 bn

Arup Roychoudhury  |  New Delhi 

Ship, Shipping firm

Exports for the month of went up 8.3 per cent year-on-year (YoY), a ninth straight month of growth. However, the rate of rise was still lower than April, when exports grew 19.4 per cent. 

The combined for April and May, first two months of 2017-18, jumped a staggering 143 per cent YoY, showed data issued by the commerce ministry on Thursday. for has been the highest for the last 30 months.

for grew 33 per cent; for April-combined, they grew 40 per cent. Total rose mainly on the back of petroleum products, and electronic goods, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, and machinery. for grew 237 per cent.

Outbound trade was $24 billion, compared with $22.2 billion for the same period last year. were $37.9 billion for May, compared with $28.4 billion in last year. The for was $13.8 billion, compared with $6.3 billion for the same period last year. The April-deficit was $27.1 billion, compared with $11.1 billion in April-2016.

“While the growth of merchandise exports is in line with our expectations, the continuing surge in has led to the for being considerably wider than anticipated,” said Aditi Nayar, principal economist with ratings agency Icra.

She said the continued growth in import of pulses, despite a record harvest and decline in price, was somewhat surprising. “Icra expects the current account deficit to widen to $27-32 billion (1.1 per cent of gross domestic product, or GDP) in FY18, from $15 billion in FY17 (0.7 per cent of GDP),” she said.

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