Com-min data says imports at $45.24 billion, exports at $27.84 billion in August; says exports grew fastest

Last Updated: Sat, Sep 15, 2018 14:35 hrs
Import Export (Reuters image)

According to data released by the Commerce ministry, exports rose at the fastest pace in three months to reach $27.84 billion in August on account of healthy growth in petroleum products, engineering, pharma, and gems and jewellery shipments.

Imports too have been reported to have grown by 25.41% in August to $45.24 billion due to costlier crude oil shipments. In August, the growth rate in overseas shipments touched a three-month high of 19.21%. Earlier in May, exports had recorded a growth of 20.18%.

Trade deficit during the month narrowed to $17.4 billion as against $12.72 billion in the same month last year, according to the data released by the commerce ministry Friday. In July, the trade deficit soared to a near five-year high of $18.02 billion.

Exports of petroleum products, engineering, pharma and gems and jewellery in August rose by 43.25%, 31.81%, 28.52% and 34.76% respectively.

Oil imports in August grew by 51.62% to $11.83 billion and non-oil imports were up by 18.17% to $33.41 billion.

Gold imports in August jumped by 92.62% to $3.64 billion. The continuous fall in the value of domestic currency appears to be helping exports.

During April-August this fiscal, the exports recorded a growth of 16.13% to $136.09 billion, while imports during the first five months of this fiscal grew by 17.34% to $216.43 billion.

Trade deficit during the period widened to $80.35 billion as against $67.27 billion in the same period last year.

Oil imports during April-August this fiscal grew by 53.35% to $58.81 billion and non-oil imports were up by 7.84% to $157.62 billion.

The high trade deficit is one of the factors that dragged the rupee to below 70 levels.

The rupee touched an all-time low of 72.91 on September 12. On Friday, it closed at 71.84 against the dollar.

The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) in a statement, explained that some of the small and micro sectors of exports were still reeling under pressure because of the liquidity crunch as banks and financial institutions have continuously been tightening their lending norms and ITC refund for exports still poses a challenge.

It also raised concerns on the high trade deficit, primarily on account of swelling of crude imports bill due to rising global oil prices and higher gold import, which has further added pressure on Indian Rupee.

"Though the Rupee depreciation has given some edge to Indian exports as rupee is one of the worst performing currency in Asia in the current fiscal, yet its impact has varied from one sector to the other," it said in a statement.