Exports sluggish, trade deficit widens in India
NEW DELHI, June 16: The country's exports grew nearly 4per cent to $30 billion in May, while imports rose 4.3per cent to $45.3 billion and the trade deficit widened to a six-month high, prompting exporters to seek relief in upcoming Budget scheduled for July 5.
Data released by the commerce department showed the trade deficit, which is the difference between exports and imports, rose to $15.4 billion in May, compared to $14.2 billion in the year-ago period. This is the widest trade deficit since November's $16.7 billion. Gold imports shot up by 37.4per cent during the month.
Exports have remained sluggish for a significant part, prompting exporters to demand measures to boost shipments. The trade war between the US and China has also added to uncertainty in global markets. Exporters said the government will need to act urgently to reverse the trend.
"Exports growth for May remains at sub-optimal level, requiring government intervention. For the engineering sector, exporters need crucial raw material like steel at international prices. Exporters are looking forward to the budget for any relief," Engineering Export Promotion Council Ravi Sehgal said.
Oil imports in May were $12.4 billion, 8.2per cent higher as compared to $11.5 billion in May 2018. Non-oil imports during 2019 were estimated at $32.9 billion, up 2.9per cent compared to $31.9 billion in the year-ago month.
Cumulative value of exports for April-May 2019-20 was $56.1 billion compared to $54.8 billion during April-May 2018-19, registering a growth of 2.4per cent. The major sectors that showed positive growth included electronic goods (50.9per cent), organic & inorganic chemicals (20.6per cent), ready-made garments (14.2per cent), drugs & pharmaceuticals (10.9per cent) and engineering goods (4.4per cent).
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal has laid out agenda to revamp commerce department as he plots a strategy for a more focused approach to boost exports. -TNN