India's trade deficit widened by 139% year-on-year to $27.98 billion in August 2022 as compared with $11.71 billion in the same month last year, according to data released by the commerce and industry ministry on Wednesday.
Merchandise imports jumped 37.28% year-on-year to $61.90 billion in August 2022 compared with imports of $45.09 billion in August 2021.
Exports rose marginally by 1.62% to $33.92 billion last month as compared to $33.38 billion in August 2021.
Trade deficit for April-August 2022 was estimated at $124.52 billion as against $53.78 billion in April-August 2021, which is an increase of 131.52%.
Exports for the period April-August 2022 were $193.51 billion as against $164.44 billion during the period April-August 2021, registering a growth of 17.68%.
Imports for the period April-August 2022 grew 45.74% year-on-year to $318.03 billion as against $218.22 billion during the year-ago period.
India's rice exports jumped 43.6% year-on-year to $1.04 billion in August. This comes at a time when the government has announced a ban on exports of broken rice as well as export duty on non-basmati rice to tame rising domestic prices.
In an interview with Fortune India, Bibek Debroy, chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said India cannot do much about exports as a GDP growth driver.
"There are certain things that are exogenous. You cannot do much about the external world. Which means you cannot do much about exports as a (growth) driver. All you can do is (boost) consumption, investment and government expenditure of the capital kind. Consumption and investment get delayed if there is uncertainty," Debroy said.
This comes at a time when the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) recorded a lower-than-expected growth of 2.4% in July 2022 as against 12.3% in the previous month.
The manufacturing sector, constituting nearly 77% of IIP basket, grew by 3.2% in July, sharply lower than 12.5% in June and 10.2% in the same month last year. The NSO data showed that the mining output contracted 3.3% during the month under review, while power generation rose 2.3% in the same period.