Trade deficit narrows down to $9.22 billion

India’s exports slipped to $24.61 billion in November from $27.27 billion in October. The performance was 5.86 per cent better than November 2012, though.

The government’s stringent gold import curbs restricted overall imports during said month to a two-and-a-half year low of $33.83 billion or 16.37 per cent lower compared to the same month last year. As a result, the trade deficit narrowed to $9.22 billion, according to the official data released here on Wednesday.

“Three-product categories in the export basket (petroleum goods, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals) have pulled down our exports,” Commerce Secretary S. R. Rao told reporters after the trade data was released.

“The export momentum fell sharply but too early to say whether it’s an aberration or the beginning of something more ominous,” JP Morgan Chief India Economist Sajjid Chinoy told The Hindu. “A single-digit trade deficit in November reinforces the degree of improvement in India’s external imbalances but the details are less than flattering, and the quality of the compression troubling as exports slumped and were offset by very weak non-oil, non-gold imports which do not suggest that growth is poised for any meaningful lift,” he added.

Gold and silver imports were down 80.49 per cent to $1.05 billion in November compared to a year earlier, according to the release.

“It is a difficult world out there in the exports market where the signals about recovery are not consistent either in Europe or in the U.S.,” EEPC India Chairman Anupam Shah said in a statement.

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