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September exports rise, but trade deficit a concern: Khullar

New Delhi, Oct 25 (IANS) India’s exports rose 23.2 percent in September, compared to the corresponding month last year, although a widening trade deficit due to a heavier import bill was a concern, Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said Monday.

‘India’s September exports rose to $18.02 billion,’ Khullar said, attributing the growth percentage to last year’s lower base.

Imports in September touched $27.14 billion, growing by 26.1 percent year-on-year, he added.

However, with imports at the half-yearly stage this fiscal touching $166.5 billion, the trade deficit has widened to $63.2 billion, which is being financed by remittances and capital inflows.

Trade deficit for September stood at $9.12 billion, compared to $13.06 billion in the previous month, he said. Oil, India’s biggest import commodity, had the largest share in the country’s import bill.

‘In terms of financing our trade deficit, we have our services exports as well as capital flow finance. As long as our current account deficit remains within the neighbourhood of 2.5-3 percent, we are fine,’ said Khullar.

He said India was already past the half-way mark of its export target of $200 billion, and was likely to reach the mark. Cumulative exports till September stood at $103.3 billion.

Every year, exports are relatively slow in the first two quarters and faster in the remaining two, Khullar said. However, a lot depended on the exchange rate and prices of intermediary goods, he added.

India is targeting a 15 percent growth in exports during the current fiscal. In 2009-10, exports had fallen 4.7 percent as demand plummeted during the global economic slowdown.

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