While Indian economy continues to face a downturn and apparently more worsened by the COVID-19 outbreak, India’s trade deficit sharply narrowed in February 2020 to $9.85 billion from $15.17 billion in the previous month, on account of a rise in exports for the first time in seven months, as per data released by the Commerce Ministry.
Exports went up 2.9% to $27.65 billion in February, led by shipments of oil seeds, electronic goods and iron. But there were signs of a slowdown in segments such as iron ore, where China is a key market, with the growth rate moderating to 38% in February compared to an over 105% jump in the previous month.
Imports rose 2.5% to $37.5 billion, with project imports, pulses and fruits and vegetables leading the pace of increase. With supply lines for products ranging from pharma ingredients and plastics to electronics drying up, economic activity and imports are expected to be impacted. Besides, a massive fall in crude oil prices will shrink the import bill. In February, oil shipments were up 14% at around $10.8 billion, while gold imports fell 8.5% to $2.4 billion.