India's merchandise exports in October declined by over 5 per cent on a year-on-year basis.
As per the Ministry of Commerce and Industry's data released on Friday, merchandise worth $24.89 billion were shipped-out during the month under review as against $26.23 billion exported in the same period of the previous year.
In terms of sequential movement, the country's merchandise exports in September had risen by 5.99 per cent to $27.58 billion from $26.02 billion exported in the same period of the previous year.
Accordingly, major commodities which have recorded negative growth during October 2020 vis-a-vis October 2019 were 'petroleum products, cashew, gems and jewellery, leather and leather products' amongst others.
"Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in October 2020 were USD 20.31 Billion, as compared to USD 19.07 billion in October 2019, registering a positive growth of 6.51 per cent," the ministry said.
Similarly, India's imports declined, it fell by (-) 11.53 per cent to $33.61 billion in October from $37.99 billion reported for the corresponding month of 2019.
In September, imports declined by (-) 19.60 per cent to $30.31 billion from $37.69 billion reported for the corresponding month of 2019.
"Oil imports in October 2020 were USD 5.98 Billion, which was 38.52 per cent lower in Dollar terms, compared to USD 9.73 billion in October 2019," the statement said.
"Non-oil imports in October 2020 were estimated at USD 27.62 billion which was 2.24 per cent lower in Dollar terms compared to USD 28.26 billion in October 2019."
"Non-oil and non-gold imports were USD 25.12 billion in October 2020, recording a negative growth of (-) 4.90 per cent, as compared to non-oil and non-gold imports of USD 26.42 billion in October 2019."
Consequently, India's trade deficit narrowed to $8.71 billion on a year-on-year basis in October from $11.75 billion reported for the corresponding month of last year.
The trade deficit had narrowed to $2.72 billion in September from $11.67 billion reported for the corresponding month of the previous year.
"The merchandise trade deficit for October 2020 is in line with our estimates, printing at the highest level for this fiscal year," said ICRA's Principal Economist Aditi Nayar.
"As the economic recovery strengthens, we expect the current account surplus to decline substantially in Q3 FY2021, from the $20 billion recorded in Q1 FY2021 and the $12-14 billion expected for Q2 FY2021."
According to EEPC India Chairman Mahesh Desai: "With the second wave of Covid 19 hitting Europe, and the US reeling under the pandemic, Indian exports face a tough winter of global trade."
In addition, Suman Chowdhury, Chief Analytical Officer Acuite Ratings & Research said: "The healthy pickup in exports seen in September could not be sustained in October, leading to a YoY drop of 5.1 per cent."
"The primary factor behind the slip in exports has been the substantial drop in petroleum product shipments on a sequential basis by 54 per cent in October. Excluding POL, exports have seen a marginal YoY growth of 2 per cent given the steady growth in agricultural, minerals and pharmaceutical exports."