India's exports increased for the second straight month in January, although the trade deficit narrowed during the time under study, indicating signs of upsurge in economic activity. The country's exports rose by 6.16% to $27.45 billion in January 2021, compared to $25.85 billion in the same timeframe last year. This was due to development in the chemical, iron ore and manufacturing industries. In rupee terms, exports rose by 8.84% to Rs 2 Lakh Crore in January 2021, compared to Rs 1.84 Lakh Crore in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, imports have remained optimistic for the second month of January 2021, increasing by 2.03 per cent to $41.99 billion, compared to $41.15 billion in January 2020. After a nine-month break, imports reported a positive rise of 7.6 per cent to $42.6 billion in December. In rupee terms, imports rose by 4.6 per cent to Rs 3.06 lakh crore, from Rs 2.93 lakh crore in the same period last year.
As a result, the trade deficit, the gap between exports and imports, reduced to $14.54 billion relative to $15.3 billion in the same timeframe last year. Taken together, the gross trade deficit for April-January 2020-21 was projected at $1.87 billion compared to a deficit of $72.40 billion in April-January 2019-20.
Other cereals (343.57%), oil meals (257.50%), iron ore (108.84%), cereal preparations and miscellaneous processed goods (44.88%) and jute production, including floor coverings, were the top five commodity export categories with positive growth in January 2021 relative to January 2020. (27.68 per cent).
Meanwhile, the top five commodity groups of imports which decreased in January 2021 compared to January 2020 were gasoline, crude oil & goods (-27.72 per cent), transport equipment (25.26 per cent), fertiliser, crude and produced (11.57%), metal ores and other minerals (4.57%) and machinery, electrical and non-electrical equipment (1.37 per cent).
Oil imports amounted to $9.40 billion, down 27.72 per cent from $13.01 billion in January 2020. In this relation, it was observed that the global price of Brent ($/bbl) decreased by 14.23% in January 2021 from January 2020 on the basis of the data available from the World Bank.