Exports up 14.32 pc in July, trade deficit at near 5-yr high

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New Delhi, Aug 14 (PTI): India’s exports rose by 14.32 per cent to USD 25.77 billion in July mainly on account of better performance of gems and jewellery sector as well as petroleum products, even as trade deficit soared to a near five-year high of USD 18 billion.

The merchandise exports had totalled USD 22.54 billion in July 2017.

The trade data released by the commerce ministry today also revealed that imports during July were valued at USD 43.79 billion, a growth of 28.81 per cent compared to USD 33.99 billion in the year ago period.

The sharp surge in imports led to worsening of trade deficit to USD 18.02 billion in the reporting month as against a deficit of USD 11.45 billion during July 2017.

“It is mentioned that the global Brent price ($/bbl) has increased by 53.16 per cent in July 2018 vis-à-vis July 2017 as per data available from US Energy Information Administration (EIA),” the commerce ministry said while releasing the data.

Over 57 per cent increase in oil import bill (USD 12.35 billion) and 41 per cent jump in gold imports to USD 2.96 billion during July is believed to be main reason behind high trade deficit.

As regards exports, the outward shipments of petroleum products surged from USD 3 billion in July last year to USD 3.9 billion, showing a growth of about 30 per cent.

Export of gems and jewellery was up 24.62 per cent to USD 3.18 billion.

Meanwhile, the RBI data on trade in services said exports (receipts) during June 2018 were valued at USD 16.87 billion or up 4.32 per cent on an annual basis.

Services imports were USD 10.3 billion in June, up by 0.89 per cent over the same month last year.

The data on services is released with a lag of one month.

Commenting on the merchandise trade data, President of exporters’ apex body FIEO Ganesh Kumar Gupta said that consecutively for third month in a row the outbound shipments have shown double digit growth, however the rate of growth has declined.

The FIEO noted that MSME units particularly labour-intensive sectors such as marine products, readymade garments, cotton yarn/fabs/made-ups, agri products, leather and leather products and handicrafts are in the negative territory.

“Though some of the labour-intensive sectors including gems & jewellery, carpets and jute manufacturing including floor covering have either shown impressive growth or have improved,” the exporters body said.

Cumulative value of exports for the period April-July 2018-19 was USD 108.24 billion as against USD 94.76 billion, showing a growth of 14.23 per cent.

Imports during April-July totalled USD 171.20 billion as against USD 146.26 billion in the year ago period, registering a growth of 17.05 per cent.

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