05/10/2020

The marginal surplus came at a time when there was a steeper drop in imports compared to exports

On July 15, Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted that India had recorded a trade surplus in June for the first time in 18 years. A trade surplus occurs when the value of exports exceeds that of imports.
The surplus came at a time when there was a sharp fall in total trade. This was mainly because of a steeper fall in imports compared to that of exports, triggered by a major drop in domestic demand largely due to the pandemic.
Trade history
The chart shows India’s total trade (blue bar) and trade balance (exports-imports, in red) between June 2019 and June 2020. Total trade declined after January and was the lowest in April before picking up in May and June. Trade deficit reduced consistently from January and recorded a surplus in June.
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The country recorded a trade surplus of $793 million in June, after registering a deficit of $3.1 billion in May.
Selling less
The chart shows the monthly import and export values since June 2019. Both imports and exports (in absolute terms) declined steeply in April during the lockdown. While both exports and imports improved in May, imports contracted yet again in June due to tepid demand in the economy, which led to the trade surplus.
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 In May, the country’s total exports were valued at $19 billion, while imports were worth $22 billion, over $1 billion more than that in June.
Commodity-wise exports
The chart plots the value (in $) of major commodities exported in the April-June quarter (Q1) of FY21 against its change (%) compared to Q1 of FY20. The exports of only four commodities grew.
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 Commodity-wise imports
The chart plots the value (in $) of major commodities imported in the April-June quarter (Q1) of FY21 against its change (%) compared to Q1 of FY20. Imports of all listed commodities declined.
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