India's trade deficit widens to $10.14 billion

New Delhi, Jan 10 : India's trade deficit widened to $10.14 billion in December 2013 from $9.22 billion recorded in the previous month due to slower growth in exports and increased imports of gold, government data showed Friday.

Exports increased by 3.49 percent to $26.34 billion in December 2013 as compared to $25.45 billion recorded in the corresponding month of the previous year.

Exports had increased by 5.86 percent in November.

Curbs on gold imports and slower demands in other sectors led to 15.25 percent year-on-year drop in imports.

The value of imports in December 2013 was $36.48 billion, as compared to $43.05 billion recorded in the same month of the previous year, according to data released by the trade ministry here.

"It is good to see export growth for the sixth month in a row, even though the rate decelerated in December," said industry body FICCI president Sidharth Birla.

"This is primarily due to drop in export of petroleum products, and hope the growth in exports will be back on track in the last quarter to achieve the target of $325 billion for the current fiscal," Birla said.

Cumulative value of exports for the first three quarters of the current financial year stands at $230.33 billion, which is 5.94 percent higher than the $217.41 billion worth of exports posted in the corresponding period of last fiscal.

Total value of imports during April-December, 2013-14 was $340.37 billion -- 6.55 percent down from the $364.24 billion in the corresponding period of 2012-13.

For the first three quarters of 2013-14, total trade deficit was recorded at $110.04 billion - sharply lower than $146.82 billion recorded during the like period of the previous fiscal.

Commenting on the monthly data, chairman of CII Export Committee Sanjay Budhia called for government's support to help boost exports.

"The economic conditions in the US and the eurozone are not very favourable for exports and we hope the Indian government will help the exporters by providing help by way of including more products and countries for Focus Product Scheme and Focus market Scheme, where we have a comparative advantage," Budhia said.

Oil imports in December was valued at $13.89 billion, 1.1 percent higher than $13.75 billion recorded in the same month in the previous year.

Non-oil imports during the month under review slumped by 22.9 percent to $22.58 billion.

--IANS (Posted on 10-01-2014)

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