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Trade deficit narrows to 11-month low of $15.60 billion in March as India cuts overseas purchases.

Date: 16-04-2024
Subject: Trade deficit narrows to 11-month low of $15.60 billion in March as India cuts overseas purchases
India's merchandise trade deficit narrowed to a 11-month low of $15.60 billion on an annual basis in March, government data showed on Monday. A poll of economists by news agency Reuters had pegged the deficit for March at $18.55 billion.

Merchandise exports and imports in March stood at $41.68 billion and $57.28 billion respectively.

In the previous month, merchandise exports were $41.40 billion, while imports were $60.11 billion. In March, services exports were $28.54 billion, while imports were $15.84 billion. In February, services exports were $32.35 billion and imports were $15.39 billion.

India’s exports are moving in a “positive cycle,” Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal said. The outbound shipments remained above $40 billion for the second consecutive month in the fiscal year that ended March.

Merchandise exports in FY24 dipped 3.11 per cent to $437.06 billion. Imports in FY24 slipped 5.41 per cent to $677.24 billion. Main drivers of merchandise export growth in 2023-24 include electronic goods, drugs and pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, iron ore, cotton yarn/fabs/made-ups, handloom products and ceramic products and glassware.

Policymakers across the world are worried about the geopolitical situation abroad. With escalating tensions in the Middle East after Iran's recent attack on Israel, there are worries about potential repercussions on global economic growth. India, the world's third-largest oil importer and consumer, relies heavily on the Middle East for a substantial portion of its petroleum imports.

India is keeping a watch on the evolving trade situation amid the Middle East conflict, Barthwal said.

"Policy interventions will only come after we understand the issues traders are facing. Based on that exercise, whatever is needed definitely government will address that," Barthwal said.

India's shrinking trade deficit is expected to assist in maintaining its current account deficit at manageable levels. The deficit decreased to 1.2 per cent of the gross domestic product during the October-December quarter.

Source Name : Economic Times


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