India's current account deficit widened to $6.9 billion in the second quarter of this fiscal as compared to $3.6 billion in the year-ago period, the Reserve Bank of India said on Friday.
The deficit accrued despite an $11 billion invisible surplus and is attributed mainly to oil imports, which clocked a 31 per cent increase in the second quarter, the RBI said releasing the Balance of Payment (BoP) data for the July- September 2006 period as well for the first half of this fiscal.
The strong oil import demand also resulted in a steady expansion in trade deficit on BoP basis to $17.9-billion in the quarter as against $13.2-billion in the same period last year.
"Oil imports reflected the impact of hardening price of the Indian basket of international crude, which rose to $66.8 per barrel from $49.3 in the corresponding quarter of the previous year," the apex bank said.
On a half-yearly basis (April-September 2006), the current account deficit widened to $11.7-billion from $7.2-billion in the previous corresponding period, again, primarily on account of higher oil imports.
On a BoP basis, trade deficit for the first half of fiscal '07 increased to $35.1-billion from $27.1-billion last year.
Giving details, the RBI said in the second quarter of this fiscal, India's merchandise exports grew 22.2 per cent as compared to 33.8 per cent previous corresponding year, the export deceleration being mainly on account of a slowdown in exports of manufactured goods.