India: The merchandise trade deficit continues to widen in November
December 14, 2018
Merchandise exports increased 0.8% in November compared to the same month a year earlier, down from the jump observed in October (+17.9% year-on-year) and less than market analysts’ expectations of 5.3%. The moderation in November was largely due to a high base effect, while the expansion itself was underpinned by higher sales of petroleum products and electronic goods abroad.
Merchandise imports increased 4.3% in November, noticeably lower than the 17.6% rise in October and undershooting market analysts’ expectations of 6.1%. The moderated increase in November was due to a slower—but still very high—rise in oil imports and another decrease in gold imports.
The trade deficit in goods widened to USD 16.7 billion in November from USD 15.1 billion in November 2017 (October: USD 17.1 billion deficit). The 12-month trailing sum of the trade deficit grew to USD 185.0 billion in November from USD 183.4 billion in October. Going forward, the deficit is likely to continue rise on robust economic growth and high oil prices, despite government efforts to curb imports and the recent depreciation of the rupee.
Author: Edward Gardner, Economist