Exports for the month of May
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 trade deficit
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. Trade deficit
has been the highest for the last 30 months.
grew 33 per cent; for April-May
combined, they grew 40 per cent. Total imports
rose mainly on the back of petroleum products, gold
and electronic goods, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, and machinery. Gold imports
grew 237 per cent.
Outbound trade was $24 billion, compared with $22.2 billion for the same period last year. Imports
were $37.9 billion for May, compared with $28.4 billion in May
last year. The trade deficit
was $13.8 billion, compared with $6.3 billion for the same period last year. The April-May
deficit was $27.1 billion, compared with $11.1 billion in April-May
“While the growth of merchandise exports is in line with our expectations, the continuing surge in imports
has led to the trade deficit
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.