India's Oct trade deficit at $14.02 billion

A mobile crane carries a container at Thar Dry Port in Sanand in Gujarat India. Credit Reuters

Overseas shipments of several key sectors such as textiles, pharmaceuticals, leather and gems and jewellery recorded negative growth last month.

Imports, however, grew by 7.6 per cent to $37.11 billion in October from $34.5 billion in the corresponding month a year ago. The government has also imposed regulatory duty on to discourage imports of non-essential items and mobilize resources for the revised Prime Minister's incentive package for exporters to minimize the trade deficit and boost the country's exports.

India's trade deficit came at $14.02 billion in October, highest since November 2014, from $8.98 billion in the previous month.

The exports dipped to United States dollars 23.09 billion in October from USD 23.36 billion in the same month past year.

"The fall in exports was expected as exporters, particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises, were facing liquidity problem to pay GST for four months in a row without getting any refund", said Ganesh Kumar Gupta, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

Ironically, exports fell in a month when the GST Council addressed most of the complaints of exporters, though one important measure, e-wallets, would kick in only by the next financial year.

Exports of plastic and linoleum (24.5%), chemicals (22.3%), petroleum products (14.7%), engineering goods (11.7%) and marine products (8.52%) grew.

Cumulative exports during April-October 2017-18 increased by 9.62 per cent to $170.28 billion, while imports grew by 22.21 per cent to $256.43 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $86.14 billion.

Segment-wise, the data showed that India's oil imports during October shot up by 27.89 per cent to $9.29 billion, from $726 billion in the same month a year ago.

Rating agency Icra's principal, economist Aditi Nayar said that it is estimate every $1 increase in the price of the Indian crude oil basket would bloat annual net oil imports and the current account deficit by $1.2 billion.

The rising oil imports come at a time when the worldwide crude oil prices are surging each day, pushing even fuel prices at home higher.

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