India Balance of Trade

India's trade deficit shrinks to a seventeen-month low in Feb'19.

Published by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, RBI. Updated until February 2019. (Published on March 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 17-month low of USD 9.59 billion in Feb'19 compared to USD 14.73 billion in the previous month. The recovery in trade balance was mainly due to a sharp decline in imports of oil and electronic goods. The merchandise imports contracted by 4.11% YoY and reached a two-year low of USD 36.3 billion in February. Oil imports bill declined by 8% YoY on account of drop in the cost of oil purchase. There was a decline in electronic goods this month to 6.48% YoY. The government has been trying to lower the import level of electronic goods by imposing higher duties since Sep'18.

A negative growth in non-oil and non-gold imports for the fourth consecutive month along with a lower manufacturing output growth in Jan'19 indicates a lower consumption demand is likely to continue in the last quarter FY19. The crude oil prices are on the rising trend since Dec'18 which may have a bearing on both our exports and imports in the next few months of this fiscal. 

India's exports on the other hand, remained sluggish as it moderated to 2.46% YoY in Feb'19 compared to 3.75% YoY in Jan'19. Domestic constraints such as lack of bank credit and delay in refund of input tax credit to exporters continue to hinder export growth. On the global front, the macro impact of brewing trade conflict between India and US cannot be ignored. US is our major export partner and any policy action that is undesirable to trade will affect growth. 

We believe, the narrowing of trade deficit in Feb'19 can bode well for the current account deficit, which stood at 2.9% of GDP in Q3 2018 on account of large trade deficit. But on the whole, if we look at the trade outline of the country since Apr'18 there has been an increase in exports and imports with the trade deficit showing an upward movement.

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: April 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.