India's merchandise trade deficit rose to an estimated $114.86 billion for the first nine months of the current financial year (April-December 2017-18) pushed higher by a $14.88 billion shortfall in December – a more than 50 per cent increase year-on-year.
Trade deficit for April-December 2016-17 was way down at $76.55 billion while the December 2016 shortfall was $10.55 billion.
While the country's exports stood at $27.03 billion in December 2017, imports into the country rose to $41.91 per cent during the month, leaving a deficit of $14.88 billion.
Exports during December 2017 were at $27.03 billion (Rs173,648.73 crore) compared to $24.05 billion (Rs163,344.45 crore) during December 2016, showing an increase of 6.31 per cent.
Major commodity groups showing positive growth in exports year-on-year in December 2017 included engineering goods (25.32 per cent), petroleum products (25.15 per cent), gems and jewellery (2.38 per cent), organic and inorganic chemicals (31.36 per cent), and drugs and pharmaceuticals (6.95 per cent).
Cumulative value of exports for the period April-December 2017-18 stood at $223.51 billion (Rs1,441,419.91 crore) against $199.47 billion (Rs1,338,341.51 crore) showing a growth of 12.05 per cent in dollar terms and a 7.70 per cent increase in rupee terms over the same period last year.
Exports other than petroleum and gems and jewellery in December 2017 were valued at $20.19 billion as against $18.01 billion in December 2016, an increase of 12.06 per cent while export of such products during April-December 2017-18 were valued at $163.71 billion compared to $144.67 billion during the corresponding period in 2016-17, an increase of 13.16 per cent.
Imports during December 2017 were valued at $41.91 billion (Rs269,242.54 crore) which was 21.12 per cent higher in dollar terms and 14.59 per cent higher in rupee terms over the level of imports valued at $34.60 billion (Rs234,952.15 crore) in December 2016.
Cumulative value of imports for April-December 2017-18 stood at $338.37 billion (Rs2,182,289.84 crore) against $277.90 billion (Rs1,865,151.87 crore) in April-December 2016-17, showing a growth of 21.76 per cent in dollar terms and a 17.00 per cent growth in rupee terms over the corresponding period of the previous year.
Major commodity groups of showing high import growth in December 2017 included petroleum, crude and its products (34.94 per cent), electronic goods (19.2 per cent), pearls, precious and semi-precious stones (93.98 per cent), gold (71.52 per cent), and electrical and non-electrical machinery (11.21 per cent).
Oil imports during December 2017 were valued at $10.35 billion, which was 34.94 per cent higher than oil imports valued at $7.67 billion in December 2016. Oil imports during April-December 2017-18 were valued at $76.15 billion, which was 24.18 per cent higher than the oil imports worth $61.32 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Non-oil imports during December 2017 were estimated at $31.56 billion, which was 17.19 per cent higher than non-oil imports of $26.94 billion in December 2016. Non-oil imports during April-December 2017-18 were valued at $26.22 billion, which was 21.07 per cent higher than the level of such imports valued at $216.58 billion in April-December 2016-17.