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Inflation | Marginal fall in Feb exports, gold imports surge

Inflation | Marginal fall in Feb exports, gold imports surge

A decline in the exports of gems and jewellery, petroleum products and engineering goods made India’s overall exports decline 0.25% in February after growing for two consecutive months.

However, gold imports surged almost 124% on-year, leading to a 7% rise in overall imports and widening the country’s trade deficit to $12.88 billion from $10.16 billion in the year ago period, preliminary data released by the commerce and industry ministry on Tuesday showed.

India’s outbound shipments were $27.67 billion last month while imports were $40.55 billion.

India’s oil imports declined 16.63% to $8.99 billion and fell 40.18% to $72.08 billion during the 11-month period of the current fiscal.

Besides gold, electronic goods, chemicals, iron and steel, ores, pharmaceutical products and wood products also led to a rise in overall imports.

“Following the Budget, in February 2021, gold imports surged to the highest level since November 2014,” said Aditi Nayar, principal economist at ICRA.

Exports during the April-February period 2020-21 period were $255.92 billion as against $291.87 billion in the year ago period. Growth in exports was seen in products such as rice, drugs, carpets, handicraft, ceramic, plastics and chemicals while a decline was witnessed in readymade garments and marine products in February. The Federation of Indian Export Organisations expects India’s full year exports to clock around $290 billion in 2020-21, lower than $314.3 billion in FY20.

Non-oil-non-gold, silver and precious metals imports, an indicator of the strength of domestic demand, rose 7.4% in February.

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