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Exports up 3.93% in May; trade deficit widens to $15.36 bn

The deficit, the difference between exports and imports, was USD 14.62 billion in May 2018.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Jun 15, 2019, 12.06 AM IST
Cumulatively, exports in April-May 2019-20 was up by 2.37 per cent to USD 56 billion. Imports rose by 4.39 per cent to USD 86.75 billion, registering a trade deficit of USD 30.69 billion.
NEW DELHI: India’s merchandise exports rose 3.93% to about $30 billion in May, led by healthy growth in sectors such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals and engineering. However, a sharper increase in imports, led by those of gold, widened the trade deficit to $15.36 billion.

Imports in May rose 4.31% to $45.35 billion, according to data released by the commerce and industry ministry on Friday.

Gold imports increased a whopping 37.43% to $4.78 billion in the past month. Oil imports were up 8.23% to $12.44 billion, while non-oil imports expanded 2.9% to $32.91 billion. However, electronics imports fell 3.17%.

“Such growth in exports is a reflection of extremely modest growth in global trade and increasing protectionism,” said Ganesh Kumar Gupta, the president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

Only 17 out of the 30 major product groups showed growth in exports in the past month. These included electronic goods, organic & inorganic chemicals, drugs & pharma, and readymade garments of all textiles.

“Exports growth for May remains at a sub-optimal level, requiring immediate government intervention. For the engineering sector, exporters need crucial raw material like steel at international prices.

Exporters are looking forward to the Budget for fiscal reliefs,” said EEPC India chairman Ravi Sehgal.

Cumulatively, exports during April and May, or the first two months of fiscal 2019-20, rose 2.37% to more than $56 billion. Imports grew 4.39% to $86.75 billion, registering a trade deficit of $30.69 billion.

Non-oil and non-gold imports at $28.13 billion in May, fell 1.31%, indicating domestic demand losing strength.

“The estimated value of services export for May is $18.2 billion,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that the numbers for May were an estimation, which would be revised based on the Reserve Bank of India’s subsequent data release. Services exports in April were $18.06 billion, up 2.84% on year in dollar terms.

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