NEW DELHI:India experienced a decline in merchandise exports by 10.3% in May 2023, amounting to USD 34.98 billion. On the other hand, imports contracted at a slower rate of 6.6%, reaching USD 57.1 billion. Consequently, the trade deficit increased to a five-month high of USD 22.1 billion.
The value of exports in May was only 0.8% higher than April's six-month low. In contrast, imports saw a significant increase of 13.8% compared to April's 15-month low, which has been revised slightly upward to USD 50.15 billion from the previous estimate of USD 49.9 billion.
This is the first time since December 2022 that the goods trade deficit has surpassed the USD 20 billion mark, after reaching a 20-month low of USD 15.46 billion in April.
Looking at the cumulative data for the first two months of the 2023-24 financial year, there has been an 11.4% decline in merchandise exports and a 10.24% dip in the import bill. In the previous year, goods shipments' value had grown by 6.7% to exceed USD 450 billion, while imports had reached USD 714 billion, reflecting a 16.5% increase compared to the levels of 2021-22.
TRADE DEFICIT INDIA: India's trade deficit refers to the situation where the value of its imports exceeds the value of its exports. It is a significant economic indicator that reflects the imbalance between a country's imports and exports.
India has been experiencing a persistent trade deficit for several years. The primary contributors to this deficit are the high demand for crude oil, gold, and electronic goods, which are major components of India's import basket. Additionally, the country's domestic manufacturing sector has struggled to compete globally, leading to a reliance on imported goods.
The trade deficit has both positive and negative implications. On the positive side, it helps meet the domestic demand for goods that are not sufficiently produced within the country. It also provides access to advanced technology and capital goods, supporting industrial development.
However, a persistent trade deficit can pose challenges for an economy. It puts pressure on the country's foreign exchange reserves, as it requires continuous outflow of currency to pay for imports. This can lead to a depreciation of the domestic currency, affecting inflation, interest rates, and overall economic stability.