NEW DELHI (AFP) – India’s trade deficit nearly doubled in April, the first month of the financial year, from a year ago as costs for imported oil jumped, the government said in a statement Sunday.
The trade deficit widened to 7.06 billion dollars in April 2007 from 3.94 billion dollars in April 2006 led by a jump in the cost of oil imports of 11.4 percent in the same period to 4.42 billion dollars, the statement said.
India imports nearly two thirds of its petroleum needs.
Exports in April rose 23.1 percent to 10.58 billion dollars, but the gain was offset by imports of 17.64 billion dollars, a jump of nearly 41 percent, the statement said.
Trade Minister Kamal Nath said in April that the government had set a goal of exports worth 160 billion dollars for the year started April.
But analysts say the target may be missed because of a sharp gain of nine percent in the rupee against the dollar since the start of 2007 — to a near decade high of 40.50.
A stronger rupee dampens exporter earnings in dollars and makes their products more expensive abroad.