Balance of Trade

Lower import bills and a pick-up in exports narrowed India's trade deficit to USD 13.43 billion in July 2019.

Published by Ministry of Commerce and Industry, RBI. Updated till June 2019 (Published on August 16th, 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 4-month low of USD 13.43 billion in July'19 from USD 15.28 billion in June'19. A contraction in imports coupled with positive growth in exports led to the overall recovery in the trade balance in July'19.

India's exports sector registered a positive growth of 2.25% YoY in July'19 after entering into negative zone in June'19. The total merchandise exports stood at USD 26.33 billion against USD 25.01 billion in the last month. Major commodity groups of exports showing positive growth over the corresponding period last year were iron ore (297.93% YoY), chemicals (13.45% YoY), and electronics (51.39% YoY). However, exports from major labour-intensive commodity groups such as jems & jewellery and engineering goods recorded negative growth of 6.82% YoY and 1.69% YoY, respectively.

Growth in merchandise imports, on the other hand, remained in the negative zone for the second consecutive month and grew by -10.43% YoY, a 5-month low of USD 39.8 billion in July'19. The contraction in overall imports is primarily on account of lower imports of oil and gold which contracted by 22.2% YoY and 42.2% YoY, respectively. Global crude oil prices have been falling since June 2019 amid weakness in the global economy. Besides a decrease in imports of other key commodity groups such as non-ferrous metals, machinery, and transport equipment suggests a slowdown in the local manufacturing sector and an overall decline in consumption demand in India.

In our view, a pick-up in exports growth is undoubtedly welcome news to some extent. But, given the prevailing geo-political tensions globally, growth in the export sector will continue to face headwinds. Also, negative growth in major labor-intensive exports commodities continues to be an area of concern for the current government.

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: September 13, 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.