NEW DELHI: India’s trade deficit widened to a more than five-year high of $18.02 billion in July, the commerce ministry said on Tuesday, driven largely by a surge in oil imports. Though merchandise exports rose 14.32% year on year in July, the trade deficit widened as oil imports surged 57.41% to $12.35 billion.

In June, the trade deficit stood at $16.6 billion.

Merchandise exports last month rose to $25.77 billion from a year ago, while imports rose 28.81 percent to $43.79 billion, the commerce ministry said.

Oil prices jumped on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia said it cut production, adding to concerns over global supply as U.S. sanctions against Iran curb its exports, though the prospect of a slowdown in global economic growth kept a lid on markets. Global benchmark Brent crude rose $1.14 to a high of $73.75 a barrel before easing back. The price was up almost 1.4% at about $73.61 at 1205 GMT and U.S. light crude was up 90 cents at $68.10.

Analyst said trade disputes between the U.S. and China as well as turmoil in emerging markets could curb growth and energy demand.

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