India's trade deficit in the first five months of the current fiscal year has fallen by more than 40 per cent to $34.7 billion as imports continued to register double-digit decline outpacing the fall in exports during the period.
Trade deficit for April-August 2016-17 is estimated at $34.67 billion, which is 40.61 per cent lower than the deficit of $58.38 billion during April-August 2015-16.
Merchandise exports from the country contracted by 0.3 per cent year-on-year to $21.5 billion in August, while imports dropped 14.09 per cent to $29.2 billion, helping the trade deficit for the month to narrow to $7.7 billion from $7.8 billion in the previous month, data released by the commerce ministry showed.
Cumulative value of exports for the period April-August 2016-17 stood at $108,52 billion (Rs726,776.04 crore) against $111.85 billion (Rs713,808.46 crore), a negative growth of 2.98 per cent in dollar terms and a positive growth of 1.82 per cent in rupee terms over the same period last year.
Non-petroleum exports in August 2016 are valued at $19.08 billion against $18.75 billion in August 2015, an increase of 1.79 per cent. Non-petroleum exports during April-August 2016 are valued at $96.98 billion compared to $97.49 billion in the corresponding period in 2015, a reduction of 0.52 per cent.
Imports into the country during August 2016 were valued at $29.19 billion (Rs195,415.03 crore), which was 14.09 per cent lower in dollar terms and 11.63 per cent lower in rupee terms over the level of imports valued at $33.98 billion (Rs221,126.92) in August 2015.
Cumulative value of imports for the period April-August 2016-17 stood at $143.19 billion (Rs959,102.25 crore) against $170.23 billion (Rs1,086.515.26 crore) registering a negative growth of 15.89 per cent in dollar terms and 11.73 per cent fall in rupee terms over the same period last year.
Oil imports during August 2016 were valued at $6.74 billion, which was 8.47 per cent lower than oil imports valued at $7.37 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Oil imports during April-August 2016-17 were valued at $32.41 billion, which was 22.08 per cent lower than the oil imports of $41.59 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Non-oil imports during August 2016 were estimated at $22.45 billion, which was 15.65 per cent lower than non-oil imports of $26.61 billion in August 2015. Non-oil imports during April-August 2016-17 were valued at $110.78 billion, which was 13.89 per cent lower than the level of such imports valued at $128.64 billion in April-August 2015-16.
India's gold imports fell for a seventh straight month in August to $1.1 billion as sluggish demand prompted banks and refineries to reduce overseas purchases of bullion.