Exports jump 25.67% in Sept; trade deficit narrows to 7-month low

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Goods imports last month were Dollars 37.6 billion, a gain of 18.09 percent from the same period a year ago, data from the commerce and industry ministry showed. Imports were up at $37.6 billion from $31.8 billion.

India's merchandise exports grew at the fastest pace in six months in September, helping cut the trade deficit to an eight-month low, belying concerns that implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) from 1 July may blunt export competitiveness.

However, G. K. Gupta, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), said in a statement that "some of the major labour-intensive sectors like handicraft, fruits and vegetables, meat, dairy and poultry products and iron-ore have posted negative growth". "Many more initiatives are in works to help exporters", he added.

Commerce secretary Rita Teaotia said last week that the department may have to revise down its goods and services export target of $900 billion by 2020 set in the foreign trade policy (FTP) because of slow growth in exports in the initial years of the FTP.

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"We need to see if the trend continues for the next quarter and whether this growth trend will be maintained". This is the highest export growth rate since March 2017 when shipments grew by 27.5 per cent. The increase in exports was driven by a broad-based performance, with 26 of 30 categories posting positive growth. "In our view, build-up of substantial stocks over the last few months would ease the volume of gold imports during the festive and wedding season", said Nayar. Since 13 September, petrol price in Delhi had risen by 50 paise per litre, and was at Rs 70.88 per litre in the capital as on October 3rd.

Oil imports moved up 18.5% to US$ 8.19 billion, while the non-oil imports also surged 18.0% to US$ 29.41 billion in September 2017 over September 2016.

Cumulative exports during April-September 2017-18 increased by 11.52 per cent to $147.18 billion, while imports grew by 25.08 per cent to $219.31 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $72.12 billion.

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