India’s trade deficit shrinks over 40% in February but lower exports add to worries

India's trade deficit, the difference between the exports and imports, shrunk over 40 per cent in February led by a sharp decline in both oil and non-oil imports even as exports also contracted 3.67 per cent to $25.68 billion. Lower trade deficit eases pressure on current account deficit.

The trade deficit for last month stood at $8.13 billion as against $14.12 billion in the year-ago period, as per data released by the trade ministry.

Total imports were pegged at $33.81 billion, down 17.09 per cent over February 2013. On the flip side, total exports (including re-exports) fell 3.67 per cent to $25.68 billion from $26.66 billion during February 2013. In rupee terms, exports value increased 11.47 per cent.

This marks the first decline in exports in dollar terms in the past eight months and could mean that the government could marginally miss the total exports target of $325 billion for the current financial year. The total exports for the first 11 months is estimated at $282.7 billion, up 4.8 per cent over the corresponding period last year. In the same period, rupee value of exports increased 16.64 per cent.

Oil imports during February 2014 were valued at $13.7 billion, down 3.1 per cent compared with the same month the last year. During April-February 2013-14, this is pegged at $ 151.8 billion, up 0.8 per cent over the previous year.

Non-oil imports during February 2014 were estimated at $20.1 billion, down 24.5 per cent over the same month last year. Non-oil imports during April-February, 2013-14 were valued at $259 billion, a decline of 13.4 per cent over the year-ago period.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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