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Exports up 45.76% to $33.28 billion in August; trade deficit widens to $13.81 billion

Exports up 45.76% to $33.28 billion in August; trade deficit widens to $13.81 billion&nbsp

New Delhi: India’s exports jumped 45.76 per cent to USD 33.28 billion in August on account of healthy growth in segments like engineering, petroleum products, gems and jewellery and chemicals, even as the trade deficit widened to a four-month high of USD 13.81 billion.

Imports in August rose 51.72 per cent to USD 47.09 billion, as against USD 31.03 billion in the corresponding month of 2020, according to the commerce ministry’s data released on Tuesday.

The trade deficit swelled to USD 13.81 billion, compared to USD 8.2 billion in August 2020. The previous high was USD 15.1 billion in April 2021.

The deficit was USD 55.54 billion during April-August this fiscal as against USD 23.35 billion during the same period of the previous year.

Exports during April-August 2021 grew by 67.33 per cent to USD 164.1 billion, the data showed.

Imports during April-August rose by 80.89 per cent to USD 219.63 billion.

Oil imports in August surged 80.64 per cent to USD 11.65 billion, while gold imports climbed 82.48 per cent to USD 6.75 billion.

Exports of engineering, petroleum products, gems and jewellery and chemicals rose by about 59 per cent to USD 9.64 billion, 144.6 per cent to USD 4.65 billion, 88.3 per cent to USD 3.43 billion, and 36 per cent to USD 2.23 billion, respectively.

Commenting on the figures, former president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) S K Saraf said export growth remains healthy and India is on course to achieving the USD 400 billion exports target by end of this fiscal.

FIEO President A Sakthivel said augmenting the flow of empty containers and establishing a regulatory authority to seek justification of freight hike and imposition of various charges by shipping lines need urgent intervention of the government.

He requested the government to provide freight support to all exports till March 31 as freight rates have skyrocketed and are likely to cool by then.

ICRA’s Chief Economist Aditi Nayar said the predominant drivers behind the widening of the trade deficit have been gold and oil imports.

With gold imports likely to ease in the ongoing month on account of the inauspicious period, the merchandise trade deficit may moderate under USD 10 billion in September, she said.

“We expect a small current account surplus in Q1 FY2022 to offset a mild deficit in the ongoing quarter, resulting in a largely balanced current account in H1 FY2022,” she added.

Prahalathan Iyer, Chief General Manager, Research and Analysis, India EXIM Bank, said exports from India in the quarter ending September 2021 are estimated to be USD 98 billion.

This would take India’s first half (April-September) exports to a level of USD 193 billion to USD 195 billion, Iyer said. 

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