Exports grew by 17.57 per cent to USD 27.7 billion in June on account of healthy growth in sectors such as petroleum and chemicals but trade deficit widened to a 43-month high of USD 16.6 billion due to costlier crude oil imports.
Imports rose by 21.31 per cent to USD 44.3 billion during the month, according to the data released by the commerce ministry. The trade deficit in June 2018 is the highest since November 2014 when the gap was USD 16.86 billion. The deficit in June 2017 stood at USD 12.96 billion.
During April-June this fiscal, exports rose by 14.21 per cent to USD 82.47 billion. Exports of petroleum products, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, and engineering goods registered a positive growth.
However, shipments of textiles, leather, marine products, poultry, cashew, rice and coffee recorded negative growth. Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO President Ganesh Gupta expressed concern over rising trade deficit, saying it could impact current account deficit thereby adding to the woes of the government on the fiscal deficit front.
“MSME sectors of exports are still feeling the pinch of liquidity crunch as banks and lending agencies have continuously been tightening their lending norms,” he said in a statement. Imports during the first quarter of the fiscal increased by 13.49 per cent to USD 127.41 billion. Trade deficit during the period widened to USD 44.94 billion as against USD 40 billion in April-June 2017.
Oil imports during the month were up by 56.61 per cent to USD 12.73 billion. These imports during April- June 2018-19 were valued at USD 34.64 billion which was 49.44 per cent higher as compared to the same period last year.
Gold imports in June dipped by about 3 per cent to USD 2.38 billion. Meanwhile, the Reserve Bank data showed that services exports in May contacted by 7.91 per cent to USD 16.17 billion.
The trade balance in services (i.e. net export of services) for May was estimated at USD 5.97 billion. The imports stood at USD 10.21 billion.