Sharp compression in imports and declining exports have narrowed the trade deficit to a 15-month low of $10.3 billion in June. In June 2011, the trade gap stood at $14.42 billion. While exports contracted by 5.45 per cent to $25.07 billion, imports declined by 13.46 per cent to $35.37 billion.

Commerce Secretary S. R. Rao expressed relief over narrowing trade deficit and said that the gap would be under control.

“Trade deficit certainly has come down. We expect it to be under control,” he said adding “some amount of current account deficit and trade deficit is good for the economy”. “For any growing economy, so long it is in manageable limits and does not cross double digit, it is in fact a very good economic indicator. Having trade surplus or surplus current account in my limited perception is not good for a growing economy,” Mr. Rao said.

The Director-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), Anup Pujari, said that India’s trade deficit was expected to narrow in the current fiscal year from the previous year. The trade deficit has touched an all time high of $184.9 billion in 2011-12.

“... certainly $185 billion will not be there because this time trade deficit is falling,” Mr. Pujari said.

Global financial service provider Nomura said that while lower oil prices were partly responsible for the drop in the oil import bill, rupee depreciation was starting to narrow the non-oil import bill. The rupee has touched a record low of about 57 against the U.S. dollar in mid-June. “Gold imports are also down as a result. As the lagged effect of rupee depreciation plays out, we expect the current account deficit to narrow further to around 3 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) in 2012-13 from a record high of 4.2 per cent in 2011-12,” it said in a statement.

Crude oil imports during April-June 2012 stood at $41.5 billion.

Commenting on the figures, President of Federation of Indian Export Organisations M. Rafeeque Ahmed said that the reduction in imports would help manage the trade deficit which could be kept below $150 billion during 2012-13.

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