Balance of Trade

Lower import bills narrowed India's trade deficit to a seven-month low of USD 10.86 billion in September.

Published by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, RBI. Updated till September 2019 (Published on October 15th, 2019). 

Note: The seasonally adjusted series has been obtained using the Eviews census X-13 procedure X-11 method of seasonal adjustment.

Recent Data Trend

India's trade deficit narrowed to a seven-month low of USD 10.86 billion in September as imports witnessed a broad-based contraction of 13.9% YoY for the fourth straight month. The trade deficit stood at USD 13.45 billion in the last month. Furthermore, exports also continued to be in the negative zone for the third month in a row and contracted by 6.6% YoY in September. Declining imports and exports mirrors the economic slowdown at both the national and global level.

The contraction in imports, although broad-based, is mainly on account of a fall in inbound shipments of crude oil and gold. Crude oil recorded a negative growth of 18% YoY to USD 8.97 billion in September due to the softening of global crude oil prices. Gold, on the other hand, continued to fall and contracted by 50% YoY in September on account of a spike in the prices of precious metals. However, gold imports may revive going forward on account of festivities in India. Non-oil and non-gold imports contracted for the eleventh consecutive month, reflecting the weak domestic demand in the economy.

Exports contracted by 6.57% YoY to USD 26 billion in September as growth in major sectors, including the labour-intensive, remained weak and recorded negative growth. 22 out of 30 major commodities witnessed contraction as against 7 in the previous month.

While a narrowing trade deficit will bode well with India's current account deficit, it had come at the cost of slowing domestic demand in the economy. This will not augur well with India's battle to reverse its domestic slowdown.

Brief Overview

The balance of trade data records the value of merchandise trade of India with its trading partners. The data on import and export of the Indian economy is published by the Ministry of Commerce on a monthly basis. Merchandise trade is a key indicator of the development of the economy. India’s largest trade partners include US, EU, and China. India has maintained an overall trade deficit since 1990 and in the past decade, the deficit has increased manifold. According to the World Trade Organization, India’s share export of merchandise goods in 2015 was 1.5%.

For more information visit the official government website

Next Release Date: November 15, 2019

Trade Balance- Quarterly

Trade Balance- Annual

Note: Here years represent fiscal years. For example, 2016 refers to the period Apr'2016-Mar'2017 and so on.

Export by Commodities


Note: The YoY% has been calculated on absolute USD values.

Import by Commodities


Note: The YoY% has been calculated on absolute USD values.

World Commodity Prices

Note: The above data has been sourced from the World Bank Pink Sheet which provides monthly data on the prices of commodities. To know more about this, visit the official website.