Exports in February up 4.5% to $25.8 billion; trade deficit narrows
The trade deficit -- the difference between imports and exports -- stood at $9.52 billion in February 2017.business Updated: Mar 15, 2018 23:29 IST
Exports grew by 4.5% in February, the lowest expansion in the last four months, to $25.8 billion as shipments of engineering, textiles and gems and jewellery declined while trade deficit narrowed to a five-month low of $12 billion.
The trade deficit -- the difference between imports and exports -- stood at $9.52 billion in February 2017, as per the data released by the commerce ministry.
Exports growth rate has been steadily declining since November 2017 when it touched a high of 30.5%. The trade gap in September 2017 stood at $8.98 billion.
“Exports have been on a positive trajectory since August 2016 to February 2018 except for a temporary setback in October 2017,” the ministry said in a statement.
The country’s merchandise exports are showing continuous positive growth, commerce secretary Rita Teaotia told reporters here on Thursday.
Imports too rose by 10.4% to $37.8 billion during the last month.
Cumulative value of exports for April-February 2017-18 period grew by 11% to $273.7 billion, while imports grew by 21% to $416.87 billion. The trade deficit was $143.13 billion.
Commerce minister Suresh Prabhu in a series of tweets said, “Exports data continue with their upsurge! Merchandise exports during February have exhibited positive growth of 4.48% in dollar terms”.
Oil imports during February rose by 32% to $10.19 billion, while non-oil import increased by 4.11% to $27.61 billion.
Oil imports during April-February 2017-18 were valued at $98 billion which was 26.92% higher than $77.21 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Exports of chemicals and petroleum products grew by 30.41% and 27.44% respectively in February. However, engineering goods shipments dipped by 1.88 per cent.
Gold imports declined by 17% to $2.89 billion in February as against $3.48 billion in the same month last year.
Prabhu said services exports also continued to grow with total exports in January valued at $16.33 billion registering a growth of 2.07%. Imports during the month were valued at $9.847 billion, registering a negative growth of 0.12%.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations said that the exports data are not encouraging as engineering, apparels, gems and Jewellery, cotton textile and carpets are showing negative growth .
“Leaving petroleum exports , the overall growth comes to 1 per cent in February. We are worried about gems and jewellery exports as sector is facing huge liquidity issue as banks are tightening their norms,” FIEO director general Ajay Sahai said.