New Delhi: India’s merchandise trade deficit – that is calculated by the gap between a country’s import and export figures – widened to a record $22.6 billion in September 2021, making it the highest in the last 14 years.
As per the data released by Commerce and Industry Ministry on Thursday, imports were growing at a faster pace of 84.77 per cent at $56.39 billion, leaving a wider trade deficit of $22.59 billion, compared to $2.96 billion a year ago.
However, the report also pointed out that the increasing trade deficit will not have any major impact on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as the trade surplus in services and inflow of foreign funds in stock and debt markets have provided a cushion.
The sharp rise in merchandise trade deficit reflected advance imports to build up inventories ahead of the festive season and higher oil imports to partly offset hardening prices, said Aditi Nayar, chief economist at ICRA, the Indian arm of rating agency Moody’s told Reuters.
“The trade deficit is expected to moderate in subsequent months,” she said, pointing out that it could fall to in the range of $13 billion to $16 billion a month in the second half of the current fiscal year ending in March 2022.
According to the latest data shared by the Government of India, India’s overall exports (Merchandise & Services combined) in September 2021 is estimated to be $54.06 billion, exhibiting a growth of 21.44 per cent over the same period last year and a growth of 26.03 per cent over September 2019. Overall imports in September 2021 are estimated to be $68.49 billion.
Data released by Central Bank earlier stated current account surplus stood at $6.5 billion in April-June quarter.
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