New Delhi: A jump in India’s imports of gold and petroleum products has pushed up imports even as exports recorded a 1.63 percent fall in October on a year-on-year basis, as the trade deficit widened to a record $21 billion.
The rate of fall in exports, at $23.2 billion, was much lower than the 11 percent dip recorded in September coming as a relief of sorts. Exports in October of last year were valued at $23.63 billion. Imports expanded by 7.37 percent to $44.2 billion last month, highest in 18-months, leaving a trade deficit of $20.96 billion. Prior to this, the highest monthly import was $45.2 billion in May 2011.
Talking to reporters here, Commerce Secretary S. R. Rao said the export performance had improved slightly in October as compared to September. However, he said imports had gone up due to high demand for gold and petroleum products. “As world trade is contracting in a continuous process, it will have an import on India’s trade also,” he added.
For the first seven months (April-October) of the 2012-13 fiscal, exports shrunk by 6.18 percent to $166.92 billion. Imports during the period have dipped by 2.66 percent to $277.13 billion. Trade deficit for the period thus stands at $110.2 billion.
Oil imports in October increased by 31.6 percent year-on-year to $14.78 billion while non-oil imports declined by 1.73 percent to $29.42 billion.
During April-October, oil imports grew by 10 percent to $95.5 billion from $86.8 billion in the corresponding period last year. However, non-oil imports dipped by 8.22 percent year-on-year to $181.56 billion.
The Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) President Rafique Ahmed said that the arrest of decline in exports in October pointed to recovery.
He said that the decline in exports was primarily on account of slowdown in domestic manufacturing.