Trade deficit 14.4% higher than a year ago, but cools 10.3% from second-highest level recorded this August

Trade deficit 14.4% higher than a year ago, but cools 10.3% from second-highest level recorded this August

India’s goods exports expanded 4.8% in September to $35.45 billion as opposed to a 3.5% contraction estimated earlier, the Commerce Ministry said on Friday. Imports, however, stayed above the $60-billion mark for the seventh successive month, rising 8.66% to $61.16 billion.    

The trade deficit for the month stood at $25.71 billion, about 14.4% higher than September 2021, but 10.35% below the $28.68 billion in August 2022, which was the second highest monthly deficit on record.   

Non-petroleum and non-gems & jewellery exports shrank 4.6% in September to $24.2 billion, even as imports excluding these products were up 20.6% at $37.71 billion, as per quick estimates released on Friday.   

Coal imports jumped 60.8% to $3.52 billion, while fertilisers imports rose 48.3% to $1.8 billion, and iron and steel imports grew 39.2% to $1.87 billion. Inbound shipments of Gold and Petroleum products, however, shrank 24.6% and 5.4%, respectively, to $3.85 billion and $15.87 billion.   

Engineering goods exports dropped almost 11% to $8.4 billion while the labour-intensive readymade garments sector’s shipments fell 18.1% to little over a billion dollars. Cotton yarn and handloom exports also fell 39% from $1.3 billion in September 2021 to a shade lower than $800 million last month.   

Petroleum exports grew at a far healthier rate than the earlier estimate of 17%, crossing $7.4 billion to reflect a 43% uptick from last September. Electronics goods exports also soared higher than previously estimated, rising 72% to surpass $2 billion. Similarly, gems and jewellery shipments increased 17.3% to nearly $3.8 billion. 

Exports of rice, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, that were earlier reckoned to have contracted during September, were marginally up as per the updated estimates, rising 1.6%, 3% and 6.9%, respectively.   

For the first half of 2022-23, India’s goods exports are now almost 17% up at $231.9 billion, while imports have surged 38.5% to 380.34 billion. At $148.5 billion, the country’s trade deficit is now 94.7% higher than the first half of 2021-22.   

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By Dipak

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