New Delhi: India’s trade deficit widened to a record USD 31.46 billion in October 2023, driven by a surge in gold and oil imports. Despite the record deficit, merchandise exports grew by 6.21% to USD 33.57 billion, indicating potential recovery.
The cumulative trade deficit for April-October 2023 stands at USD 147.07 billion, with exports contracting by 7% to USD 244.89 billion and imports declining by 8.95% to USD 391.96 billion.
Gold imports spiked by 23% to USD 29.5 billion during the period, while crude oil imports declined by 18.72% to approximately USD 100 billion.
Despite global challenges, 22 of the 30 key export sectors, including iron ore, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and engineering goods, showed positive growth in October. Import sectors with notable growth included pulses (112.2%), fruits and vegetables (53.4%), non-ferrous metals (21.24%), and electronics goods (26%).
Services exports in October amounted to USD 28.7 billion, up from USD 25.3 billion a year ago, while imports stood at USD 14.32 billion compared to USD 13.51 billion. Services exported from April to October 2023 reached USD 192.65 billion, compared to USD 181.37 billion in the same period of 2022.
The World Trade Organisation forecasts a modest 0.8% global trade growth in 2023.
Despite prevailing challenges, Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal expressed confidence in sustaining goods export growth in the coming months and emphasized exploring new markets to leverage export opportunities.