Exports up 27%, but trade deficit reaches record high

Exports up 27%, but trade deficit reaches record high
© Provided by The Times of India

NEW DELHI: India’s trade deficit surged to a record high of $23.3 billion in November as imports of crude oil, coal and gold shot up, negating the near 27% jump recorded in exports.

Preliminary data released by the commerce department on Wednesday estimated exports at $29.9 billion in November, led by a 145% jump in the shipments of oil products, which touched $3.8 billion, in the wake of soaring global prices. At over $8 billion, engineering goods were the top item in India’s export basket.

Gems and jewellery and pharma were the two sectors in the top 10 category that saw a fall in exports during the month.

But the export performance was overshadowed by a 57% surge in imports, which reached $53 billion in November. While oil imports soared over 132% to $14.7 billion, coal imports surged 136% to $3.6 billion. Like oil, coal prices have increased in recent months due to shortage in China.

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While gold saw a comparatively slower growth of 40%, the value of yellow metal shipped into the country to the legal channels was pegged at $4.2 billion.

Against an export target of $400 billion for the current financial year, the cumulative value during AprilNovember was estimated at $262 billion.

This means that exports of $34.5 billion will be needed every month till March.

Economists, however, warned of a possible adverse impact of the Omicron variant on the overall global economy in the coming weeks, although the last wave had not significantly impacted business and trade. Exporters have been complaining of disruptions due to shortage of containers and a surge in freight rates in recent months with links to certain markets, such as CIS countries, significantly impacted for exporters in certain parts of the country.

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