India added $15.2 billion to its already huge trade deficit in February, taking the 11-month total so far in the current financial year to $166.8 billion, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said today.
Imports grew at a whopping 20.6 per cent in February 2012 to $39.8 billion even as its exports grew at a meager 4.3 per cent to $24.6 billion. The balance of trade for the month stood at (-) 15.2 billion in February.
Indian imports continued to outpace exports in February as well as demand remained weak in major exports markets like the US and Europe, even as the country's appetite for imported goods, including precious metals, continued to remain strong.
India imported goods and services worth $434.2 billion during April-February 2011-12, an year-on-year increase of 29.4 per cent while its exports grew 21.4 per cent to $267.4 billion during the period, taking the country's trade deficit for the first 11 months of the financial year to $166.8 billion.
India's import boom during April-February 2011-12 was led by petroleum, oil and lubricants (POL), imports of which rose 41 per cent to $132.6 billion, followed by gold and silver imports, which rose 38.5 per cent to $54.5 billion. Machinery imports rose 27 per cent to $32.2 billion, electronics imports were up 21.8 per cent to $30.1 billion, and coal imports rose 72 per cent to $15.5 billion.
Interacting with media persons in New Delhi today, Khullar said, during April-February 2012 engineering exports from the country rose 20.9 per cent to $54.5 billion; petroleum and oil product exports grew 46 per cent to $53 billion; gems and jewellery exports rose 28.8 per cent to $40.6 billion; drugs and pharmaceutical exports rose 11.4 per cent to $11.4 billion; leather exports by 20.4 per cent to $4.1 billion, exports of cotton yarn and fabric made-ups rose 18.5 per cent to $6.1 billion; electronic exports rose 3.5 per cent to $8 billion and exports of readymade garments rose 19 per cent to $12.1 billion.
Khullar, meanwhile, clarified that the figures were only rough estimates and could change when final figures are arrived at.