India's exports rise 17.5% in February, up for the sixth straight month; gold imports spurt 147%

S V Krishnamachari
india news, trade data for feb 2017, india external trade, india exports, india imports, gold imports by india, trade deficit, india external trade, note ban

India's foreign trade in February was probably the best in recent months, with exports growing 17.48 percent to $24.49 billion as against $20.84 billion in February 2016. Imports rose 21.76 percent to $33.39 billion (from $27.41 billion), mainly due to gold imports that jumped 147.62 percent to $3.48 billion from $1.40 billion in February 2016.

Trade deficit widened to $8.89 billion for last month as against $6.57 billion in February 2016, according to provisional data released by India's commerce and trade ministry after trading hours.

"The current double digit growth in exports has come after a long way after June, 2014, which itself shows the capabilities and robustness of our export sector," S C Ralhan, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO) said in a statement.

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"Going by the current trend, we are definitely expected to reach around USD 270 billion of exports this fiscal,"  he added.

In January 2017, exports had risen 4.32 percent to $$22.11 billion and imports grew 10.7 percent to $31.95 billion, YoY, leading to a trade deficit of $9.84 billion. Gold imports declined 29.94 percent to $2.04 billion in January 2017 from $2.91 billion in January 2016 but up from $1.95 billion in December 2016.

Oil imports during February, 2017 were valued at US$ 7681.20 million which was 60.02 percent higher than oil imports valued at US$ 4800.20 million in February 2016. Oil imports during April-February, 2016-17 were valued at US$ 76743.86 million which was 1.76 per cent lower than the oil imports of US$ 78121.86 million in the corresponding period last year.

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Sharp rise in oil imports 

The rise in crude oil prices after OPEC and non-OPEC members agreed to a production cut last year reflected in the increase in the oil import bill.

"Oil imports during February, 2017 were valued at $7681.20 million which was 60.02 percent higher than oil imports valued at $4800.20 million in February 2016. Oil imports during April-February, 2016-17 were valued at $76743.86 million which was 1.76 per cent lower than the oil imports of $78121.86 million in the corresponding period last year," the commerce ministry said in a statement.

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Positive opening likely on Dalal Street

The bullish data could be reflected when stock markets open on Thursday. Stocks to watch out for would be Titan, PC Jeweller, Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri and Gitanjali Gems, in the wake of the spurt in gold imports.

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