Merchandise exports rose for the third straight month in February — albeit marginally — by 0.67 per cent year-on-year to $27.93 billion, while the trade deficit widened to $12.62 billion, according to official data released Monday.

In February 2020, trade deficit was at $10.16 billion. Imports, too, rose last month, by 6.96 per cent to $40.54 billion, the data showed.

During the April-February for FY21, exports contracted by 12.23 per cent to $256.18 billion as against $291.87 billion a the year ago. Imports declined 23.11 per cent during the same period to $340.8 billion.

Oil imports last month declined by 16.63 per cent to $8.99 billion, while its shipments during April-February were down by 40.18 per cent to $72.08 billion.

Among the sectors that witnessed positive exports growth during February were oilmeals, iron ore, rice (30.78 per cent), carpet (19.46 per cent), spices (18.61 per cent), pharmaceuticals (14.74 per cent), tobacco (7.71 per cent), and chemicals (1.2 per cent).

Commenting on the data, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president Sharad Kumar Saraf said the marginal growth in exports was mainly on account of container shortages across India, which limited supply in the last week of the month due to increasing Covid-19 cases in certain states.

Wholesale inflation rises to 27-mth high

NEW DELHI: The wholesale price-based inflation rose for the second consecutive month to a 27-month high of 4.17 per cent in February, as food, fuel and power prices spiked.

The WPI inflation was 2.03 per cent in January and 2.26 per cent in February last year.

Overall, in February, inflation saw a broad-based rise, as retail inflation hit 5.03 per cent from a 16-month low of 4.06 per cent in January.

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