August merchandise trade deficit widens to USD 24 billion

Overall, exports in August 2023 stood at $60.87 billion as against $63.52 billion in the same month previous year.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | AP)

NEW DELHI:   The country’s merchandise trade deficit in August rose to $24 billion, the highest in the current financial year, even as merchandise exports during the month inched up to $34.48 billion as compared to $32.25 billion in July. 

In the previous two months (June and July), the merchandise trade deficit was about $20 billion. August goods exports broke the month-on-month declining trend and reported the highest numbers in the past three months. Year-on-year (YoY), merchandise exports showed a drop of 7%. Services exports in August fell both on a YoY and month-on-month basis. In August 2023, services export was at $26.39 billion as against $26.50 billion in August 2022 and $27.17 billion in July 2023.

Overall, exports in August 2023 stood at $60.87 billion as against $63.52 billion in the same month previous year.  In the April-August period, merchandise exports reached $172.95 billion, which is lower than $196.33 billion in the same period last year. Exports during the period stood at $343.81 billion, which is 10% lower than last year’s exports. Releasing the monthly data, commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal said there has been an uptick in exports, and pessimism about export growth which was there till July has converted into optimism.  “Green shoots are now clearly visible,” said Barthwal.

Barthwal attributed the slow export growth in the earlier months to both high base effects as well as declining commodity prices. “Now, with the firming up of petroleum prices, commodity prices will also firm up, and the impact will be visible in export figures,” added Barthwal. Crude prices in the international market surged to a 10-month high on Friday to $94 a barrel due to a production cut announced by OPEC + countries. Petroleum exports fell 27% in the first five months of the current financial year followed by Gems and Jewellery (26%) and Engineering goods.

India-Canada free trade talks put on hold
NEW DELHI: India and Canada negotiations for a free trade pact will resume after the resolution of political issues between the two countries, a senior official said on Friday. “There were certain political developments in Canada on which India has raised its objections. India has shown a strong resentment against certain political developments in Canada, and therefore, till these political issues are settled, we have paused the negotiations,” the official said. ENS

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