India’s exports grew a robust 20.18% in May, a six-month high, benefiting from a broad-based recovery in sectors led by petroleum. Costlier crude also caused imports to grow 15% in the month, leaving a four month high trade deficit of $14.62 billion, or about ₹98,732.03 crore. Trade deficit was $13.84 billion in May 2017.
Growth in 23 out of 30 sectors, including petroleum products, organic and inorganic chemicals, and drugs and pharmaceuticals helped exports grow by one fifth to $28.86 billion in May, while a near 50% increase in oil imports drove the country’s total imports to $43.48 billion. The country’s exports growth in May was faster than China’s 12.6% growth.
Major commodity groups of export showing positive growth over the corresponding month of last year included petroleum products (104.47%), organic and inorganic chemicals (34.21%), drugs and pharmaceuticals (25.67%), cotton yarn (24.7%), and engineering goods (14.77%).
The rise in imports in the month was driven by 49.46% jump in oil imports at $11.5 billion on the back of surging international crude prices. Global Brent prices ($/bbl) increased 50.68% year on year in May 2018 as per World Bank commodity price data.
Gold imports fell 29.85% last month to $3.48 billion compared to $4.96 billion in May 2017.
Imports of inputs such as iron and steel, nonferrous metals, fertilisers, chemicals, coal, machinery and transport equipment increased on account of firmer oil prices.