Trade deficit falls in December as oil import bill crumbles; exports shrink too

India's trade deficit declined to 10-month low of USD 9.43 billion in December mainly on account of falling imports due to slump in crude prices, though exports too have come down.

Gold imports showed an increase from year-ago level to USD 1.34 billion in December, but it is a substantial decline from the previous month (USD 5.61 billion).

Exports too fell by 3.8 per cent to USD 25.4 billion.

Outbound shipments were valued at USD 26.4 billion in the same month last year.

Gold imports at USD 1.34 billion in December were 7.4 per cent higher than the corresponding month of the previous fiscal. However, it is a sharp decline from previous month when inbound shipments stood at USD 5.6 billion.

Oil imports during the month under review were valued at USD 9.94 billion, down 28.6 per cent from USD 13.92 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Oil imports during April-December, 2014-15 were down 4.7 per cent to USD 116.5 billion from USD 122.2 billion in the corresponding of 2013-14.

Global oil prices have slumped to near six-year low of around USD 46 a barrel, helping importing countries like India to cut back on their dollar payments.

Exports in April-December totalled to USD 241.15 billion as against USD 231.8 billion in the comparable period last fiscal, a growth of 4.02 per cent.

The imports during April-December was USD 351.2 billion as against USD 338.9 billion, registering a growth of 3.63 per cent.

The trade deficit in December is down 44 per cent compared to November. In December 2013, it was USD 10.2 billion.

The previous low in trade balance was USD 8.13 billion in February, 2014.

The trade deficit April-December is USD 110 billion compared to USD 107 billion in the same period last fiscal.

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