Current account takes heat of rising oil trade gap
Exports are roughly a third of imports at present.
It is not that the slowdown hasn’t impacted oil imports. Oil imports growth, in quantity terms — the closer proxy of demand — has declined since 2009-10. What kept the import bill relatively high is also a decline in domestic output, where growth has turned negative since October 2011, increasing reliance on imports.
A weak rupee has bloated the import bill too as the quantity has remained 15.5-16.5 million tonnes a month till November this fiscal. According to petroleum ministry data, during 2011-12, oil imports have risen just 3.5% on-year to 186.73 million tonnes, almost the same as 3.7% rise in 2010-11 but lower than 14.9% in 2009-10. The economic growth had started sliding from 8.4% in 2010-11 to 6.5% in 2011-12 and 5.4% in first half of this fiscal year.
Commerce ministry data giving value show oil imports stood at $96.4 billion during April-October this year while petroleum products exports were $30.26 billion. During 2011-12, oil imports rose 46.2% to $155 billion while fuel product exports too grew at a scorching pace of 34% to
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