A marginal rise in India's merchandise exports, combined with lower imports, resulted in a lower trade deficit for the country in December 2018 as compared to the same month of 2017, an official data showed on Tuesday.
According to a data released by the Commerce Ministry, last December's exports increased by 0.34 per cent to $27.93 billion from the $27.83 billion reported for the corresponding month of 2017.
The trade deficit for December 2018 was estimated at $13.08 billion, as against the deficit of $14.20 billion in December 2017.
The cumulative value of exports for the April-December 2018 period was $245.44 billion, as against $222.77 billion during the period April-November of 2017 registering a growth of 10.18 per cent, the Ministry said.
Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports during the month in consideration at $21.11 billion increased just over 1 per cent, as compared to $20.88 billion in December 2017.
Petroleum products, electronic goods, and plastic and linoleum products showed a high export growth during the month under review.
Instead, imports in December at $41.01 billion fell by 2.44 per cent as compared to the imports of 42.03 billion in the same month of 2017.
"Oil imports in December 2018 were $10.67 billion, which was 3.16 per cent higher in dollar terms, compared to $10.35 billion in December 2017," the statement said.
Global Brent crude oil price has increased by 12.07 per cent in December 2018, vis-à-vis December 2017, the Ministry said.
"Non-oil imports in December 2018 were estimated at $30.33 billion, which was 4.27 per cent lower in dollar terms compared to $31.69 billion in December 2017," the statement said.
"Non-oil and non-gold imports were $27.76 billion in December 2018, recording a negative growth of 1.86 per cent, as compared to non-oil and non-gold imports in December 2017, the statement said.
As per RBI data on Tuesday on services exports in November 2018, these declined marginally by 0.82 per cent at $16.68 billion compared to the previous month. The trade balance in services for the month is estimated at $6.57 billion.
"Taking merchandise and services together, overall trade deficit for April-December 2018-19 is estimated at $82.72 billion as compared to $69.63 billion in April-December 2017-18," the RBI said.