NEW DELHI: The country’s goods trade deficit widened to $13 billion in November — the highest since $13.08 billion in July 2015 owing to imports outpacing export during the month under review.
Expanding for the third straight month, exports recorded 2.29 per cent year-on-year growth to $20 billion in November. Exports of engineering products rose by 14.10 per cent, petroleum by 5.73 cent and chemicals by 8.3 per cent compared to the same month last year, according to data released by the Commerce Ministry on Thursday.
However, goods imports in November grew at a faster pace at 10.44 per cent to $33 billion. Gold imports jumped 23.24 per cent to $4.36 billion in November pushed the trade deficit to a two-year high of $13 billion as against $10.33 billion in the same month last year. Following government’s move to scrap high denomination notes, there were speculations that the government might impose curbs on imports and domestic holdings of gold
Oil imports in November were up by 5.89 per cent to $6.83 billion. Non-oil imports rose by 11.7 per cent to $26.18 billion.
Country’s apex exporters’ body Federation of Indian Exports Organisation (FIEO) said that although growth is encouraging, uncertain global conditions still remains challenge.
“Though the sentiment still remains low in the global market, factors like US Fed rate hike and demonetisation have also in some way added to the woes of the exporters which may be seen in the figures of coming months,” FIEO President S C Ralhan said.
Due to the persistent weak external demand, exports had shrunk consecutively from December 2014 to May 2016, but then recorded a 1.97 per cent growth in June. However, it again slipped back into negative growth in July and August before recording positive growth in September with a 4.8 per cent growth. Exports had registered an 8.22 per cent growth in October.
The country’s merchandise exports during April-November period of the current fiscal too recorded a growth of 0.10 per cent to $174.92 billion.