Worrying signals are flashing for Indian exports, as growth slowed to 9 per cent in January 2018 from 12.3 per cent in December 2017, even as imports grew 26.1 per cent, widening the trade deficit to a four-and-a-half-year high of $16.3 billion. Overall, India’s exports grew just 11 per cent in April-January 2017-18 over the same period of 2016-17, almost exactly half the rate at which imports grew in the comparable period.
Expectedly, the trade deficit has expanded briskly; by $131 billion in the first 10 months of 2017-18 against $88 billion in the same period last year, raising fresh fears of a widening current account deficit just as oil prices have start hardening. On the basis of the first 10 months’ performance, India is likely to end the financial year with a modest 8 per cent export growth over 2016-17. While this is an improvement over 5 per cent growth in 2016-17, yet it keeps India in the $300-odd billion range achieved three years ago.
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