India's merchandise trade deficit showed a narrowing trend in the first nine months of the 2016-17 financial year (April-December), falling to an estimated $76.55 billion from of $100.08 billion during April-December 2015-16 – a 23.51 per cent decline year-on-year.
While both exports and imports continued to grow, inward shipments, which traditionally accounted for a larger part of the country's international trade, grew at a slower pace while its exports grew faster during the past three months.
Merchandise exports from the country continued to show an uptrend for the third month in succession with a 5.72 per cent increase in December 2016 exports at $23.88 billion and 7.79 per cent in rupee terms at Rs162,179.89 crore, compared to $22.59 billion (Rs150,461.57 crore) during December 2015.
Cumulative value of exports during April-December 2016-17 stood at $198.81 billion (Rs1,333,913.57 crore) against $197.33 billion (Rs1,278,004.37 crore), showing a modest growth of 0.75 per cent in dollar terms and a 4.37 per cent growth in rupee terms over the same period last year.
Non-petroleum exports in December 2016 were valued at $21.12 billion against $20.04 billion in December 2015 - an increase of 5.4 per cent. Non-petroleum exports during April-December 2016-17 were valued at $176.83 billion as to $172.96 billion for the corresponding period in 2015, an increase of 2.2 per cent.
Imports during December 2016 were valued at $34.25 billion (Rs232,588.18 crore), which was 0.46 per cent higher in dollar terms and 2.43 per cent higher in rupee terms compared with imports valued at $34.10 billion (Rs227,067.28 crore) in December 2015.
Cumulative value of imports during April-December 2016-17 stood at $275.36 billion (Rs1,848,099.10 crore) against $297.41 billion (Rs1,926,024.55 crore) registering a negative growth of 7.42 per cent in dollar terms and 4.05 per cent in rupee terms over the same period last year.
Oil imports during December 2016 were valued at $7.65 billion, which was 14.61 per cent higher than oil imports valued at $6.67 billion in December 2015. Oil imports during April-December 2016-17 were valued at $60.92 billion, which was 10.76 per cent lower than the oil imports valued at $68.27 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Non-oil imports during December 2016 were estimated at $26.61 billion, which was 2.98 per cent lower than non-oil imports of $27.43 billion in December 2015. Non-oil imports during April-December 2016-17 were valued at $214.43 billion, which was 6.42 per cent lower than the level of such imports valued at $229.14 billion in April-December 2015-16.