India's trade deficit further widened to $13.84 billion in May, its highest in two-and-a-half years, on surging gold imports, official data released on Thursday showed.
India's merchandise trade deficit stood at $13.25 billion in April while overall trade deficit for April-May 2017-18 is estimated at $21.41 billion compared to $53.93 billion during April-May 2016-17.
Gold imports in May 2017 surged to nearly $5 billion from $3.85 billion a month ago while the import of the precious metal rose 236.69 per cent year-on-year.
India's imports during May 2017 stood at $37.86 billion (Rs243,888.74 crore), which was 33.09 per cent higher in dollar terms and 28.16 per cent higher in rupee terms over the level of imports valued at $28.44 billion (Rs190,306.19crore) in May 2016.
Cumulative value of imports for April-May 2017-18 stood at $75.74 billion (Rs488,269.26 crore) against $53.86 billion (Rs359,229.90 crore), a whopping 40.63 per cent growth in dollar terms and a 35.92 per cent growth in rupee terms over the same period last year.
Major commodity group of imports showing high growth in May 2017 included petroleum, crude and products (29.54 per cent), gold (236.69 per cent), electronic goods (34.16 per cent), pearls, precious and semi-precious stones (37.61 per cent) and machinery-electrical and non-electrical (6.42 per cent).
On the other hand, merchandise exports from the country during May 2017 stood at $24.01 billion (Rs154,713.69 crore), showing a growth of 8.32 per cent in dollar terms and a 4.30 per cent growth in rupee terms.
Major commodity groups of export having a share of 72.09 per cent in total export basket which have shown positive growth over the corresponding month of last year include engineering goods (8.25 per cent), gems and jewellery (6 per cent), petroleum products (24.92 per cent), RMG of all textiles (8.06 per cent), organic and inorganic chemicals (15.34 per cent), rice (27.08 per cent), marine products (44.58 per cent) and electronic goods (8.57 per cent).
Cumulative value of exports for the period April-May 2017-18 stood at $48.65 billion (Rs313,627.48 crore) against $42.74 billion (Rs285,056.42 crore), showing a growth of 13.83 per cent in dollar terms and a 10.02 per cent growth in rupee terms over the same period last year.