India's trade deficit widened to a five-month high in April due to rise in crude oil imports coupled with muted growth in export amid rising concerns over US-China trade war, government data showed on Wednesday.
The trade deficit, a gap between exports and imports, expanded to $15.33 billion in April 2019 as compared to $13.72 billion in April 2018 and $10.89 billion in last month, according to data release from the Ministry of Commerce.
Merchandise exports inched up by 0.64 per cent year-on-year to $26.07 billion in April, while imports rose by 4.48 per cent to $41.4 billion compared to the same month last year.
"In April 2019, major commodity groups of export showing positive growth, includes petroleum products (30.75%), electronic goods (27.78%), organic and inorganic chemical (15.06%), RMG of all textiles (4.42%) and drugs and pharmaceuticals (4.03%)," the trade ministry data showed.
Much of the rise in imports came from crude purchases, which rose by 9.26 per cent to $11.38 billion. In April, Brent crude price was $71.23 per barrel as compared to $72.11 per barrel in the same month last year. Non-oil imports increased by 2.78 per cent to $30.02 billion in April, compared to $29.21 billion in April last year, data showed.
Meanwhile, gold imports spiked by 54 per cent to $3.97 billion in April. The rise in imports by the world's second-biggest consumer of the precious metal was driven by strong demand during wedding season along with fall in prices which prompted purchases.
Non-petroleum and non gems and jewellery exports stood at $19.54 billion, as compared to $19.80 billion in April 2018, exhibiting a negative growth of 1.31 per cent.
Edited by Chitranjan Kumar