Marginal 2.44 per cent increase in exports as well as lower imports of gold and petroleum products in February significantly narrowed the country’s trade deficit to $9.6 billion, according to data released by the Commerce Ministry on Friday.
India’s merchandise exports rose to $26.67 billion in February from $26.03 per cent in the year-ago month mainly on account of higher shipments in sectors such as pharmaceutical, engineering and electronics.
Imports declined by 5.4 per cent to $36.26 billion in the last month, narrowing the trade deficit to $9.6 billion. The gap between imports and exports was $12.3 billion in February 2018, and $14.73 billion in January 2019.
As per the data, the decline in imports was mainly on account of sharp decline in inward shipments of gold and petroleum products.
While the import of gold fell by about 11 per cent to $2.58 billion in February as against $2.89 billion in the corresponding month last fiscal, inward shipments of petroleum products were down by nearly 8 per cent to $9.37 billion.
During the April-February period of the current fiscal year, exports grew 8.85 per cent to $298.47 billion, while imports rose by 9.75 per cent to $464 billion.
The trade deficit has widened to $165.52 billion during the 11 months of the current fiscal from $148.55 billion compared to the year-ago period, the data said.