New Delhi: Domestic and global slowdown along with lower crude oil prices heavily dented India's merchandise external trade as both export and import for November showed a downtrend.
November exports were marginally down to $25.98 billion from $26.07 billion reported for the corresponding period of the previous year.
Even on sequential basis, exports were lower than $26.38 billion worth of merchandise that were shipped out in October.
"Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in November 2019 were $19.31 billion, as compared to $18.55 billion in November 2018, exhibiting a positive growth of 4.08 per cent," the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.
On the other hand, imports declined by 12.71 per cent to $38.11 billion in November from $43.66 billion reported for the corresponding month of 2018.
"Oil imports in November 2019 were $11.06 billion, which was 18.17 per cent lower in dollar terms, compared to $13.52 billion in November 2018," the ministry said.
As per World Bank data, global Brent price ($/bbl) has decreased by 3.73 per cent in November 2019 vis-a-vis November 2018.
"Non-oil imports in November 2019 were estimated at $27.04 billion which were 10.26 per cent lower in Dollar terms compared to $30.14 billion in November 2018," the ministry said.
"Non-oil and non-gold imports were $24.10 billion in November 2019, recording a negative growth of (-)11.96 per cent, as compared to non-oil and non-gold imports of $27.37 billion in November 2018," the statement said.
Consequently, the trade deficit in November narrowed to $12.12 billion as against the deficit of $17.58 billion in the corresponding period of 2018.
"With the sharp fall in the merchandise trade deficit to $23 billion in October-November 2019 from $36 billion in October-November 2018, we expect current account deficit to print sub-1 per cent of GDP in Q3 FY2020," said Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA.
According to Edelweiss Securities' economist Madhavi Arora: "While faltering exports depict fragile external demand, sharp contraction in imports, especially non-oil and non-gold, reflect weakening domestic demand."