India’s trade deficit narrows for fourth straight month in April


New Delhi: A plunge in the imports of oil and gold has trimmed India’s trade deficit to its lowest level in more than five years, bolstering the outlook for the country’s balance of payments.

The trade shortfall narrowed for the fourth straight month in April to $4.84 billion (around Rs.32,400 crore today), its lowest level since March 2011, from $5.07 billion in the previous month, government data showed on Friday.

Tumbling crude prices globally also drove down the oil import bill by 24% from a year earlier to $5.66 billion last month.

Subdued gold demand, due to a jewellers’ strike and a sharp increase in prices, led to a 60% annual fall.

The imports of the yellow metal totalled $1.2 billion in March, sharply down from $3.1 billion in the same month a year earlier.

Overall, India’s imports shrank by an annual 23.10% to $25.41 billion.

The country’s balance of payments had swung to a surplus in the October-December quarter of last year.

Exports, meanwhile, posted their 17th straight decline, contracting by an annual 6.74% to $20.57 billion