Trade deficit doubles in Feb as imports surge 66%

Trade deficit doubles in Feb as imports surge 66%

New Delhi: Imports, which surged by 66% on the back of faster economic revival, far outweighed growth in exports, resulting in trade deficit nearly doubling to $8.96 billion in February over the year-ago period.

Though the overall economic revival boosted demand for imports which surged to $25.05 billion in February, this surge was primarily driven by oil import which shot up by a whopping 97.4% from a year ago period in February.

Against this, exports expanded by 34.8% in February, indicating revival of demand for Indian merchandise in the Western markets.

For the cumulative April-February period, exports aggregated $152.98 billion, down by 11.3% under the impact of the global downturn felt in the earlier months of the just-concluded fiscal.

Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said, “exports would reach $168-169 billion for the full fiscal which ended yesterday."

For the 11-months period, imports, however, declined to $248 billion from $287 billion in the previous year, according to the official data released on Thursday. The cumulative trade gap for the April-February period dropped to $95.41 billion from $114.72 billion.

Oil imports jumped to $7.63 billion, up 97.4% from a year ago period in the reporting month. But this is lower by 18.2% to $73.23 billion during the April-February period.

Non-oil imports rose by 55.6% in February to $17.42 billion. For the 11-months period, non-oil imports were valued at $175 billion, down by 11.4%.

Imports were subdued in the initial months of the last fiscal because of the global downturn, which has picked up again since November, analysts said.