India’s Nov merchandise trade deficit narrows sharply on subdued imports

By Shivangi Acharya

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India’s merchandise trade deficit narrowed sharply to $20.58 billion in November from the previous month’s record levels as imports of gold, petroleum and electronic goods moderated, government data showed on Friday.

The trade deficit in November was lower than the $23.60 billion expectation of economists polled by Reuters.

India’s merchandise exports in November stood at $33.9 billion, while imports were $54.48 billion, government data showed.

In the previous month, merchandise exports were $33.57 billion, while imports stood at $65.03 billion.

Gold imports nearly halved on month to $3.45 billion in November, an analysis of government data by Reuters showed. Gold imports for October were at $7.2 billion.

Imports of petroleum products were 22% lower in November than the previous month at nearly $13.71 billion. Electronic goods imports registered a near 17% decline in the latest print at $6.49 billion, analysis showed.

Services exports in November were $28.68 billion, while imports were $13.4 billion. In October, services exports were $28.70 billion and imports were $14.32 billion.

The sharp widening in India’s merchandise trade deficit in October to a record level, fuelled by a broad-based rise in imports due to festive demand, was expected to be an outlier.

India’s months-long festival demand peaks during Diwali, the festival of lights, which was celebrated on Nov.12.

Merchandise exports for the period April-November totalled $278.80 billion, while imports for the same period reached $445.15 billion, the data showed.

(Reporting by Shivangi Acharya; Writing by Sarita Chaganti Singh; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Angus MacSwan)