IN: Merchandise Trade Balance

Thu Jun 15 08:05:00 CDT 2017

Actual Previous
Balance $-13.84B $-13.25B
Exports Y/Y 8.32% 19.77%
Imports Y/Y 33.09% 49.07%

India's merchandise trade deficit widened from $13.25 billion in April to $13.84 billion in May. This is the biggest deficit since late 2014 and is also much wider than the deficit of $6.27 billion recorded in May 2016.

Exports grew 8.32 percent on the year in May, down from an increase of 19.77 percent in April. Meanwhile, year-on-year growth in imports slowed from 49.07 percent in April to 33.09 percent in May. The fall in headline imports growth was mainly driven by weaker growth in non-oil imports, down from 54.50 percent to 34.03 percent, with growth in oil imports down only slightly from 30.12 percent to 29.54 percent.

Seperate data also released today showed services trade data for April. Services exports fell 8.99 percent on the year in April while services imports fell 12.64 percent. This resulted in a services trade surplus of $5.68 billion, down from a surplus of $5.91 billion in March.

The merchandise trade balance measures the difference between imports and exports of goods. The level of the international trade balance, as well as changes in exports and imports, indicate trends in foreign trade and can offer a guide to an economy's competitiveness. Alongside the merchandise data, exports and imports of services are also provided. The statistics, which are not seasonally adjusted, are reported in both local currency and U.S. dollars, the latter being the main market focus.

Changes in the level of imports and exports, along with the difference between the two (the trade balance) are a valuable gauge of economic trends here and abroad. While these trade figures can directly impact all financial markets, they primarily affect currency values in foreign exchange markets.

Imports indicate demand for foreign goods and services in India. Exports show the demand for Indian goods in countries overseas. The rupee can be particularly sensitive to changes in the trade deficit run by India, since the trade imbalance creates greater demand for foreign currencies. The bond market is also sensitive to the risk of importing inflation. Data are reported in US dollars and Indian rupees.