Trade deficit narrows to 10-month low of US$ 13.08 billion in December 2018India's merchandise exports rose 0.3% to US$ 27.93 billion in December 2018 over a year ago. Meanwhile, merchandise imports declined 2.4% to US$ 41.01 billion, leading to 7.9% dip in the trade deficit to 10-month low of US$ 13.08 billion in December 2018 from US$ 14.20 billion in December 2017.
Oil imports rose mere 3.2% to US$ 10.67 billion, while the non-oil imports declined 4.3% to US$ 30.33 billion in December 2018 over December 2017. The share of oil imports in total imports was 26.0% in December 2018, compared with 24.6% in December 2017. The price of India's basket of crude oil declined 7.3% to US$ 57.77 per barrel in December 2018 over December 2017.
Among the non-oil imports, the major contributors to the overall fall in imports were electronic goods imports declining 9.1% to US$ 4.25 billion, gold 24.3% to US$ 2.57 billion, pearls, precious & semi-precious stones 28.1% to US$ 2.53 billion, transport equipment 14.7% to US$ 1.90 billion, vegetable oil 14.7% to US$ 0.72 billion, metaliferrous ores & other minerals 7.8% to US$ 0.72 billion and medicinal & pharmaceutical products 1.4% to US$ 0.54 billion.
However, the imports have increased for machinery, electrical & non-electrical by 8.4% to US$ 3.08 billion, coal, coke & briquettes etc 11.4% to US$ 2.26 billion, organic & inorganic chemicals 2.7% to US$ 1.79 billion, iron & steel 15.6% to US$ 1.43 billion, non-ferrous metals 12.7% to US$ 1.25 billion and artificial resins, plastic materials etc 5.4% to US$ 1.21 billion. The imports also improved for crude & manufactured fertilizers by 79.9% to US$ 0.74 billion, professional instrument, optical goods etc 11.2% to US$ 0.48 billion, machine tools 25.6% to US$ 0.41 billion and silver 49.0% to US$ 0.29 billion in December 2018.
On exports front, the petroleum products recorded an increase in exports by 13.2% to US$ 4.21 billion, followed by organic & inorganic chemicals 5.5% to US$ 2.01 billion, RMG of all textiles 2.8% to US$ 1.37 billion, electronic goods 50.8% to US$ 0.83 billion and plastic & linoleum 20.2% to US$ 0.75 billion. The exports also improved for rice by 1.3% to US$ 0.65 billion, mica, coal & other ores, minerals including processed minerals 7.4% to US$ 0.35 billion, ceramic products & glassware 43.3% to US$ 0.27 billion and oil meals 35.8% to US$ 0.19 billion in December 2018.
However, the exports declined for engineering goods by 3.1% to US$ 7.16 billion, gems & jewellery 19.2% to US$ 2.61 billion, drugs & pharmaceuticals 0.7% to US$ 1.66 billion, cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, handloom products etc 5.5% to US$ 0.89 billion, marine products 7.4% to US$ 0.61 billion, leather & leather products 7.4% to US$ 0.44 billion and man-made yarn/fabrics/made-ups etc 1.3% to US$ 0.41 billion in December 2018.
Further, the exports declined for meat, dairy & poultry products by 24.6% to US$ 0.38 billion, spices 4.4% to US$ 0.27 billion, and fruits & vegetables 13.0% to US$ 0.18 billion in December 2018.
Merchandise exports in rupees increased 10.5% to Rs 197536 crore, while imports moved up 7.4% to Rs 290033 crore in December 2018 over December 2017. The trade deficit declined to Rs 92497 crore in December 2018 compared with Rs 95594 crore in December 2017.
India's merchandise exports increased 9.7% to US$ 245.44 billion, while merchandise imports moved up 13.3% to US$ 386.65 billion in April-December 2018. An increase in imports was driven by a 41.9% jump in oil imports to US$ 108.10 billion. India's merchandise trade deficit rose to US$ 141.20 billion in April-December 2018 from US$ 117.52 billion in April-December 2017.
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