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Goods exports dip 0.3% in August; sharper fall in imports narrows trade deficit

Contracting for the second month in a row, India’s merchandise exports fell 0.3% to $23.51 billion in August on persistent weak demand in developed markets and subdued prices, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi.

By: | New Delhi | Published: September 16, 2016 6:43 AM
The main export sectors that recorded negative growth in the month include petroleum (14%), leather (7.82%) and chemicals (5%).  (Reuters) The main export sectors that recorded negative growth in the month include petroleum (14%), leather (7.82%) and chemicals (5%). (Reuters)

Contracting for the second month in a row, India’s merchandise exports fell 0.3% to $23.51 billion in August on persistent weak demand in developed markets and subdued prices, reports fe Bureau in New Delhi. However, the trade deficit narrowed to $7.67 billion from $12.4 billion in the corresponding month a year ago, thanks to sober world crude prices and a sharp fall in gold imports, apart from sluggish industrial imports. The country’s import bill declined 14.1% to $29.2 billion in the month. Export growth had turned positive in June after a declining trend that stayed for 19 months.

The main export sectors that recorded negative growth in the month include petroleum (14%), leather (7.82%) and chemicals (5%). The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said the decline has largely been arrested and now “we can look for positive growth from October onwards”.

According to RBI data released on Thursday, India’s services exports in July stood at $12.77 billion, a decline of 4.11%; in the year-ago month a 1.03% fall was reported. Services imports in July were $7.4 billion, a fall of 11.68% as compared to a positive growth of 5.89% in the previous month.

The trade balance in services (net exports) for July was estimated at $5.37 billion. The net export of services for April- July of FY17 was estimated at $21.56 billion which is lower than net export of services of $22.37 billion during April- July of FY16.

The World Trade Organization in April trimmed its 2016 global trade growth forecast by 1.1 percentage points. It predicted that global trade would rise 2.8% in 2016, lower than its previous forecast of 3.9% announced in September last year. This will be the fifth straight year of trade growth below 3%, which is also much lower than the average annual expansion of 5% since 1990, according to the WTO data. According to WTO data, the growth in exports have fallen for US (-4.35%), EU (-2.16%) and China (-4.94%) for June 2016 over the corresponding month in the previous year.

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In the April-August period, export of goods contracted by 2.98% to $108.51 billion, while imports fell by 15.89% to $143.18 billion. Trade deficit in goods for the period stood at $34.66 billion compared with $58.38 billion in the comparable year-ago period.

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