Exports rise 21%, imports surge 63% widening trade deficit to record $24.29 bn

Merchandise exports rose to $38.94 bn in May; oil, coal, gold purchases lifted imports to $63.22 bn

June 15, 2022 07:36 pm | Updated 07:36 pm IST - New Delhi

India's merchandise exports in May rose by 20.6% to $38.94 billion, while the trade deficit ballooned to a record $24.29 billion, according to the government data released on Wednesday.

Imports surged 62.8% to $63.22 billion, the data showed.

The trade deficit stood at $6.53 billion in the same month last year.

Cumulative exports in April-May 2022-23 rose by about 25% to $78.72 billion.

Imports in April-May increased 45.4% to $123.41 billion.

The trade deficit during the first two months of this fiscal widened to $44.69 billion, against $21.82 billion in the year-earlier period.

Commenting on the data, ICRA Ltd. chief economist Aditi Nayar said that the mild sequential dip in non-oil exports amid a sharp jump in gold imports widened India's merchandise trade deficit to $24 billion in May.

"Based on the expectation that gold imports may reduce after the Akshaya Tritiya season, the trade deficit may demonstrate some moderation in the current month," she said.

Ms. Nayar added that based on the performance in April-May 2022, "we foresee the current account deficit to widen to $26 billion in Q1 FY23, from $23 billion in Q3 FY22 and an expected $16 billion in Q4 FY22," she said.

Petroleum and crude oil imports more than doubled to $19.2 billion.

Coal, coke and briquettes imports jumped to $5.4 billion, from $2 billion in May 2021.

Gold imports increased to $6 billion, from $677 million in May 2021.

Engineering goods exports in May increased by 12.7% to $9.7 billion, while petroleum products exports grew by 60.9% to $8.54 billion.

Gems and jewellery exports stood at $3.22 billion compared with $2.96 billion in May 2021.

Exports of chemicals rose 17.4% to $2.5 billion in May.

Similarly, shipments of pharma and ready-made garments of all textiles grew by 10.3% and 27.9% to $2 billion and $1.41 billion, respectively.

Export sectors that recorded negative growth in May included iron ore, cashew, handicrafts, plastics, carpet and spices.

The Commerce Ministry said the estimated value of services import for May was $14.43 billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 45% from $9.95 billion in the same month last year.

"The estimated value of services imports for April-May 2022 is $28.48 billion exhibiting a positive growth of 45.5% vis-a-vis April-May 2021 ($19.57 billion)," it added.

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