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… increased duty on gold imports to 10 per cent in August.

These measures had the desired effect, as gold imports plunged more than 80 per cent to $0.8 billion in September from $4.6 billion a year earlier. Crude oil imports declined by about six per cent, to $13.19 billion.

During April-September this fiscal, exports grew by 5.14 per cent to $152.1 billion, while imports declined by 1.8 per cent to $232.23 billion. The trade deficit for the six-month period was $80.1 billion.

The rupee gained from its intra-day low of Rs.62.30 to the dollar post announcement of trade data, and closed at Rs.61.93, down 14 paise from Tuesday’s close.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president Rafeeque Ahmed expressed confidence that exports would touch $350 billion this fiscal.

“The trade deficit is likely to come down to below $150 billion for this fiscal, which will help the government keep the current account deficit (CAD) within $70 billion,” he said.

Rate cut by SBI, IOB

With the festival season kicking in, more banks are now cutting interest rates on auto and consumer durable loans.

State Bank of India (SBI) has slashed interest rates on car, two-wheeler and consumer durable loans. Car loans will now be available at 10.55 per cent per annum, down from 10.75 per cent. Processing charge has also been cut from 0.51 per cent of the loan amount (with a minimum of Rs.1,020) to a flat rate of Rs.500.

Indian Overseas Bank, which has launched a personal loan scheme for salaried class for purchase of consumer durables, has slashed interest rates by 200 basis points from its current interest rate of 15.25 per cent to 13.25 per cent. Corporation Bank and State Bank of Patiala have also slashed interest rates.