A container ship sits berthed at a shipping terminal in Yokohama, Japan. (Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg)

India’s Trade Deficit Narrows Slightly In November

India’s trade deficit in November narrowed from the previous month as a relatively stronger rupee and lower oil prices helped contain the burden on the import bill.

The gap between exports and imports stood at $16.67 billion, compared with $15.1 billion in the same month last year, according to a release from the Ministry of Commerce. The trade gap had hit a two-month high of $17.13 billion in October.

India’s imports rose 4.3 percent to $43.17 billion in November from $41.39 billion in the year-ago period. Value of oil imports, the biggest burden on India's import bill, rose 41.3 percent year-on-year to $13.49 billion. This was, however, lower than that of the previous few months when oil prices have been volatile. Brent crude prices increased 4.16 percent in November from the same period last year.

Machinery imports also rose 7.7 percent over last year to $2.91 billion.

Imports Highlights (YoY)

  • Gold imports fell 15.6 percent to $2.76 billion.
  • Electronic goods imports rose 0.3 percent to $4.38 billion.
  • Iron and steel imports increased 18 percent to $1.48 billion.
  • Pearls, precious and semi-precious stone imports fell 46 percent to $1.6 billion.
  • Coal imports rose 13 percent to $2.24 billion.

Exports in November slowed, rising 0.8 percent over last year to $26.5 billion. Outbound shipments of petroleum products was the biggest contributor to India's exports rising 42.7 percent to $5.14 billion.

Exports Highlights (YoY):

  • Exports of engineering goods fell 16.4 percent to $5.9 billion.
  • Gems and jewellery exports dropped 16.9 percent to $2.8 billion.
  • Textile exports rose 9 percent to $1.13 billion.
  • Electronic goods exports grew 37 percent to $794 million.
  • Chemical exports increased 12.3 percent to $1.87 billion.