India's Imports Rise 7% In February; Pushes Trade Deficit To $12.62 Billion
India's exports grew 0.67% to $27.93 billion in February while imports rose 6.96% to $40.54 billion, according to official data released on Monday.
The trade deficit widened to $12.62 billion in February compared to $10.16 billion in the year-ago period, the data showed. India’s merchandise trade deficit stood at $14.54 billion in January 2021.
Exports during April-February 2020-21 period contracted by 12.23% to $256.18 billion compared to $291.87 billion in the year-ago period.
Imports during April-February period dipped 23.11% to $340.8 billion.
In February, oil imports declined 16.63% to $8.99 billion. It was down 40.18% to $72.08 billion during the 11-month period of the current fiscal.
Major commodities of export that have recorded positive growth during February include oil meals, iron ore, rice, meat, dairy and poultry products, carpet, spices, pharmaceuticals, and chemicals.
The sectors that recorded negative export growth in February include petroleum products (-27.13%), leather (-21.62%), cashew (-18.6%), gems and jewellery (-11.18%), engineering goods (-2.56%), tea (-2.49%), and coffee (-0.73%), it added.
Key import goods that registered healthy growth include gold, dyeing/tanning/colouring materials, chemicals, electronic goods, iron and steel, and textile yarn fabric, made-up articles. Sectors that recorded negative import growth include silver, newsprint, fertiliser, coal, leather, transport equipment, petroleum, pulses, machine tools, cotton raw and waste, pearls, and precious and semi-precious stones.
Gold imports in February jumped to about $3 billion.
Growing for the second consecutive month, the country's exports rose 6.16% year-on-year to $27.45 billion in January 2021.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations President SK Saraf said they continue to see signs of further revival not only in the order booking positions but also in the demand from across the globe, paving way for much better days and months for the sector.
However, he said rising exports from China have led to the shortage of containers in the region, as most of the empty containers are available only for exports from China. The shipping lines and container companies are being paid hefty premiums for bringing empty containers back to China.