Higher Oil Import Bill Weighs on India as Trade Gap Widens
(Bloomberg) -- India’s trade deficit widened the most in three months in April as rising crude prices weighed on the world’s third-biggest oil consumer.
The trade deficit -- gap between exports and imports -- was at $13.7 billion in April, data released by India’s commerce ministry showed on Tuesday. That compares with the $15 billion median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 27 economists.
Key points from April trade data:
Although overall imports rose at the slowest pace in 16 months, a surge in oil prices pushed the trade gap wider. Brent crude averaged $71.76 a barrel in April, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It extended gains to above $79 a barrel, the highest since 2014, on Tuesday.
Higher prices of oil -- India’s biggest import -- comes amid weakness in the rupee, driving up import costs. That may also push current-account gap wider and make the economy more vulnerable to rising U.S. interest rates.
India’s trade deficit will widen to a four-year high of 6.4 percent of the gross domestic product in the year through March, rising from 6 percent last year, due to rise in oil and gold shipments, according to India Ratings and Research, the local unit of Fitch.
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