New Delhi: Sharp compression in imports and declining exports has narrowed the country's trade deficit to 15-month low of USD 10.3 billion in June.
In June 2011, the trade gap stood at USD 14.42 billion.
In March 2011 the trade deficit was at USD 3.4 billion. During April-June 2012 the trade gap declined to USD 40 billion from USD 46.3 billion in the same quarter last fiscal.
While exports in June contracted by 5.45 percent to USD 25.07 billion, imports declined by 13.46 percent to USD 35.37 billion.
Commerce Secretary S R Rao expressed relief over narrowing trade deficit and said that the gap would be under control.
"Trade deficit certainly has come down. We expect it to be under control," he said adding "some amount of current account deficit and trade deficit is good for the economy".
"For any growing economy, so long it is in manageable limits, it does not cross double digits, it is in fact a very good economic indicator. Having trade surplus or surplus current account in my limited perception is not good for a growing economy," Rao said.
Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Anup Pujari said that India's trade deficit is expected to narrow in the current fiscal year from the previous year.
The country's trade deficit has touched an all time high of USD 184.9 billion in 2011-12.
"... Certainly USD 185 billion will not be there because this time trade deficit is falling," Pujari said.
Global financial service provider Nomura said that while lower oil prices are partly responsible for the drop in the oil import bill, rupee depreciation is starting to narrow the non-oil import bill.
The rupee has touched a record low of about Rs 57 against the US dollar in mid-June.
"Gold imports are also down as a result. As the lagged effect of rupee depreciation plays out, we expect the current account deficit to narrow further to around 3 per cent of GDP in FY'13 from a record high of 4.2 percent in FY'12," it said in a statement.
Crude oil imports during April-June 2012 stood at USD 41.5 billion.
Commenting on the figures, President of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) M Rafeeque Ahmed said that the reduction in imports would help to manage the trade deficit which can be kept below USD 150 billion during 2012-13.
First Published: Friday, July 13, 2012, 13:43