New Delhi, March 13 (IANS) India’s trade deficit widened to $9.85 billion on a year-on-year basis in February, official data showed on Friday.
The data furnished by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed both exports and imports grew during the month and the trade deficit widened to $9.85 billion from $9.72 billion reported in February 2019.
On a sequential basis, February’s deficit was much lower than $15.17 billion deficit reported for January 2020.
Furthermore, the data showed that country’s merchandise exports rose by 2.91 per cent in February on a year-on-year basis to $27.65 billion from $26.87 billion reported for the corresponding period of the previous year.
Similarly, on a sequential basis, exports were higher than $25.97 billion worth of merchandise which were shipped out in January.
“Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in February 2020 were $21.23 billion, as compared to $20 billion in February 2019, exhibiting a positive growth of 6.16 per cent,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in April-February 2019-20 were $218.83 billion, as compared to $217.60 billion for the corresponding period in 2018-19, an increase of 0.57 per cent,” it said.
As per the data, imports rose by 2.48 per cent to $37.50 billion in February from $36.59 billion reported for the corresponding month of 2019.
“Oil imports in February 2020 were $10.76 billion, which was 14.26 per cent higher in dollar terms, compared to $9.41 billion in February 2019,” the ministry said.
“Non-oil imports in February 2020 were estimated at $26.74 billion which was 1.60 per cent lower in dollar terms, compared to $27.18 billion in February 2019,” the statement said.
Nonetheless, non-oil and non-gold imports were $24.38 billion in February 2020, recording a negative growth of 0.87 per cent, as compared to $24.59 billion reported for the corresponding period of the previous year.
Commenting on nominal growth in February’s exports FIEO President Sharad Kumar Saraf said that in the wake of novel coronavirus, which not only pulled down the global sentiments but also affected the supply chain both internationally and domestically, “such modest growth is encouraging”.
However, the impact of pandemic will be more visible in exports figure of March onwards, he said.
On its part, EEPC India Chairman Ravi Sehgal said that though exports in February managed to achieve a positive growth, the outlook looks grim going forward due to pandemic coronavirus which has affected almost all countries in the world.
According to ICRA’s Principal Economist Aditi Nayar said: “Overall, the impact of the coronavirus, the decline in crude oil prices, and constrained demand for gold are likely to contribute to a small current account surplus in Q4 FY2020.”
“Accordingly, we expect the current account deficit to be contained at a modest 0.8 per cent of GDP each in FY2020 and FY2021.”