Merchandise shipment in December surged by 38.91 per cent on an annual basis to $37.81 billion, the highest-ever monthly figure, due to healthy performance by sectors such as engineering, textiles and chemicals, even as the trade deficit widened to $21.68 billion during the month, government data showed.
Imports in December 2021 also increased 38.55 per cent to $59.48 billion, on account of an increase in petroleum and crude oil imports, which soared 67.89 per cent to $16.16 billion. Gold imports expanded by 5.43 per cent to $4.72 billion.
During April-December 2021-22, exports rose 49.66 per cent to $301.38 billion.
Imports during the period surged 68.91 per cent to $443.82 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $142.44 billion, the data showed. The trade deficit in December 2020 was $15.72 billion.
Aditi Nayar, chief economist, ICRA said “With the trade deficit in Q3 FY2022 exceeding the aggregate level recorded in the previous five months, we expect the current account deficit to touch nearly $30 billion in Q3 FY2022. The impact of the third wave may squeeze wedding demand for gold, helping the trade deficit to scale back somewhat from the average of $21.7 billion seen since September 2021.”
In December 2021, exports of engineering goods grew 38.41 per cent to $ 9.8 billion, followed by petroleum products (151 per cent to $ 5.88 billion), gems and jewellery (16.4 per cent to about $ 3 billion), chemicals (26.86 per cent to $ 2.66 billion) and ready-made garments of all textiles (22.63 per cent to $ 1.46 billion).
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President A Sakthivel said that looking at the current trend, India will achieve the $400-billion merchandise exports target for the fiscal.