Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sugar import duty hiked to 40 per cent

30th April 2015, New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to hike the import duty on sugar to 40 per cent from the current 25 per cent to check the slide in domestic prices of the sweetener and enable the industry to clear cane arrears to the tune of Rs. 20,099 crore. This is in line with the demand raised by the industry, cane growers and state governments with whom the government recently held a series of meetings. However, no decision was announced on the demand to create a buffer stock of sugar on government account and industry body ISMA urged the government to quickly decide on its request to buy out 10 per cent of current year's sugar production amounting to 3.5 million tonnes "to help the industry come out of the crisis in the short run and ensure that a major portion of cane price arrears of farmers are cleared before the start of the next sugar season."

The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also decided to waive off 12.6 per cent excise duty on ethanol blending for the next sugar season. The saving will be passed on to the sugar industry/distilleries. It is mandatory for millers to produce five per cent ethanol from molasses for blending with petrol.

At the same time, the government has decided to end duty-free raw sugar imports. Under the Duty Free Import Authorisation (DFIA), exporters of sugar could import duty free, permissible quantities of raw sugar for subsequent processing and disposal. To prevent offloading of sugar made from such duty free imports in the domestic markets, the DFIA scheme for sugar would be withdrawn.

The government has reduced to six months the period for discharging export obligations under the Advanced Authorisation Scheme for Sugar to prevent possibility of any leakage of such sugar in the domestic market. The government steps are to improve the price sentiments relating to sugar, said an official spokesman.

The last few years have witnessed over-production of sugar as compared to domestic requirement. This has depressed sugar prices with the mills having been constrained for liquidity, facing difficulties in clearing cane dues owed to the farmers and impacting incomes of 50 million sugarcane farmers. Similar conditions of subdued prices prevail in the global markets.

Ex-factory prices of sugar have fallen to Rs 22-24/kg in the country, while the cost of production is over Rs 30/kg. Sugar production of India, the world's second largest producer, is estimated to be higher than the domestic consumption for the fifth year in a row this year.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Strong India Rupee Stings PM Modi's Export Ambitions

New Delhi: Ajit Lakha, who runs a mid-sized garment export business in the north Indian textile hub of Ludhiana, prays daily before leaving for work that the rupee will weaken and the euro recover to cut the losses he is taking on his overseas sales.

"Perhaps God is not listening," he says. "Only a year ago, I was getting 80 rupees for each euro on garment exports to France. Now, I am getting just 67 or 68 rupees."

Thousands of garment, leather, handicraft, and gems and jewellery exporters have watched helplessly as the rupee has appreciated by a quarter against Europe's common currency over the past 12 months.

The result has been India's worst export performance since the global slump of 2009, an early setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' campaign to launch an export-led boom as he approaches a year in power.

To counter slack external demand, PM Modi's government plans higher infrastructure spending in the budget now before parliament, but lacks the fiscal firepower for a China-style stimulus. Short of alternatives, New Delhi is starting to lean on the Reserve Bank of India to do more on the currency side to restore India's international competitiveness.

"A case is building for rupee depreciation. Otherwise, all indicators show we are entering another difficult year," a senior trade ministry official told Reuters, adding the government expected help from the central bank besides taking other measures.

Merchandise exports, which make up around 16 per cent of India's $2 trillion economy, shrank for the fourth month in March, with the 21 per cent annual decline the steepest since 2009. In part, that reflects the collapse in oil prices - India's main import is crude but its refiners also export petroleum products.

Exports to Europe shrank by near 2 per cent in the 11 months to February, reducing its share of total exports to 18 per cent and cancelling out gains to the Americas and Africa.

Sales of textiles - a major export to Europe - for instance, have slowed in the current fiscal year after growing 15 per cent in 2013/14 year to $6.38 billion.

Need Oxygen

To be sure, a stronger rupee is not all gloom for Asia's third-biggest economy which imports nearly $450 billion worth of goods a year. But the upshot for PM Modi is that his goal of doubling shipments to $900 billion in four years now looks very ambitious.

"India has become uncompetitive in some markets," said Gaurav Poddar, director at Limtex India, which exports tea to the oil-dependent economies of the Middle East and former Soviet Union. "The rouble has really hit us," said Mr Poddar, referring to the Russian currency's collapse last year.

Trade officials say exporters need a helping hand as they are fast losing competitiveness after the rupee appreciated by 11 per cent in real terms against a six-currency basket over the year to March.

"Indian exports are in intensive care and immediately need oxygen," said S.C. Ralhan, president, of the Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO).

Yet economists say that the RBI already faces a tough task curbing the rupee, as enthusiasm over PM Modi's business-friendly policies sucks investment dollars into Indian financial markets.

In January and February, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) bought a net $20 billion in the spot forex market.

Any acceleration in dollar-buying intervention would force the RBI to absorb, or 'sterilise,' more of the rupees that it prints lest they leak into the economy and undermine hard-won gains in cooling inflation.

"India can choose to join the global currency war by cutting interest rates - but that is not an option we have, given we are still fighting inflation," said Sonal Varma, an economist at Nomura in Mumbai.

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Commerce Ministry eases rules for preferential quota sugar sales

The Commerce Ministry on Tuesday liberalised the sales of preferential quota sugar to the European Union (CXL quota) and the US (TRQ quota), effectively allowing all exporters and not just State Trading Enterprises (STEs) to avail of the benefits of the quota.

Sales will be subject to a quantitative ceiling that will be reviewed by the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) periodically, said an official statement.

The quotas essentially allow a quantum of exports to these markets at low tariffs. Additional imports of the sweetener beyond the quota are subject to additional tariffs. The Indian Sugar Exim Corporation (ISEC) had been exporting sugar under this system since 1991.

“The change in the policy of the preferential sugar quota will enable all sugar industries in the country to export sugar subject to a minimal requirement of registration from APEDA or DGFT,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Traders will have to furnish details of exports to the Additional DGFT, Mumbai, as well as Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda). A certificate of origin, if required, will be issued by the former.

The quota for the EU at present is 10,000 tonnes while that for the US is 8,000 tonnes.

Few to benefit

Ostensibly to aid the struggling millers who owe as much as Rs. 20,000 crore as dues to sugarcane farmers as of last month, the Ministry’s decision has not gone down well with the industry.

“The decision to remove preferential sugar quota exports to the EU and the US from the sugar industry body, the ISEC, will benefit a few petty traders at the cost of the sugar industry,” said Abinash Verma, Director-General, Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA).

Verma said that ISEC’s funds have been used for the welfare of the domestic sugar sector and the move will see the profits being pocketed by a few.

“It is all the more surprising to note that this unilateral decision has been taken bypassing recommendations of the Food Ministry…we have already represented before the Prime Minister to investigate the matter and check the move behind the decision and whether it will benefit the country,” he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 29, 2015)

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Textiles Ministry seeks export sops for yarn, fabric sectors

The Textiles Ministry has demanded sops for the yarn and fabric sectors, which it says were ignored in the five-year Foreign Trade Policy announced early this month.

It has also made a case for inclusion of garments in the interest subvention scheme being finalised by the Commerce Ministry to help the sector compete with Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which get favourable access to developed markets.

“Officials from the Textiles Ministry have already held preliminary discussions on the matter with officials in the Commerce Ministry and the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. We have forwarded all the complaints that we had received from the industry. The Secretaries from the two ministries are also in touch,” an official told BusinessLine .

Flawed incentives

Man-made fibre yarn as well as woven and knitted fabrics, in addition to garments, have been extended a 2 per cent incentive (in the form of fully transferable duty scrips) in the EU, the US, Canada and Japan. However, sops in these markets do not help yarn and fabric producers as they export very little to these markets. The Merchandise Export Incentive Scheme (MEIS), however, ignores markets such as China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam and South Korea, which are major destinations for yarn and fabric from India.

“By excluding key markets, the policy has virtually ignored fabric and yarn producers, who also need support in the shrinking world market,” the official said.

The Textiles Ministry is also trying to persuade the Commerce Ministry to include garments and other sectors in the new interest subvention scheme being finalised by it. Under the scheme, exporters from select sectors will get credit at a 3 per cent subsidy for the next three years.

“The garments sector is facing a tough time competing with smaller economies such as Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, which get preferable access into the EU and US markets. Interest-rate subvention will give it some relief,” the official said.

The textile sector is the largest employment generating sector in the country, especially for low-skilled workers, and needs to be supported, he added.

The Merchandise Export Incentive Scheme ignores markets such as China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Vietnam and South Korea, which are major destinations for yarn and fabric from India.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 29, 2015)

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hike in EU customs duty to hit Indian exports

New Delhi will ask Brussels to reconsider the decision by the European Commission (EC) to end a preferential tariff system for imports from India and other developing nations. Should the current regime of low customs duties end, it would make Indian goods more expensive with exporters paying anywhere between 6% and 12%. “We have a month’s time before the new GSP (generalised system of preferences) regime to convince the EU,” an official familiar with the development told FE.

The EU has decided to “graduate” exports of several items including textiles, chemicals, minerals, leather goods and motor vehicles from India out of its GSP scheme with effect from January. Preferential or nil customs duty to exports from developing nations under GSP is an exception to the World Trade Organisation obligation of member states to give every other member equal and non-discriminatory treatment under the ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status. Other products to be excluded from the preferential import tariff include bicycles, aircraft, spacecraft, ships and boats. India’s exports to the European Union, which accounted for 17% of the country’s total exports, shrank by over 4% in 2012-13 to $50 billion.

According to official sources, India’s commerce ministry will also protest the EU’s move to simultaneously grant zero customs duty on textile imports from Pakistan from January. This, according to New Delhi, will affect the regional competitiveness of India’s textile industry, its second largest employment creator after agriculture.

“We will take it up with Brussels because for textiles, it is a double whammy. The EU has removed Indian textiles exports from GSP, which means higher duty at EU borders, and they are in the process of giving textile exports from Pakistan GSP Plus status, which means zero duty,” an official confirmed to a news agency.

The move gives clothing, apparel and accessories exports from Pakistan a 10% duty advantage over those from India. The official explained that the EU Parliamentary Committee’s vote on November 5 to give GSP Plus status to textiles from Pakistan will have to be ratified by the European Parliament, which it is expected to do in early December. The EC’s decision to graduate the Indian textile industry out of GSP from January 1 already has the approval of the European Parliament.

The EU’s move to deny India the GSP benefit for certain goods is part of its plan to redesign the scheme. The idea is to exclude advanced developing economies that have integrated into the world trade and to focus on the needs of those that are lagging. Textile exports from India are being phased out of GSP as they exceed 14.5% in value of textile imports into the EU from all beneficiary countries, going by a three-year average up to 2012. For other products the threshold for exclusion is 14.5% as per the EU regulation.
The European parliamentary committee’s vote to grant for GSP Plus status to textile imports from Pakistan and nine other countries is aimed at promoting international conventions on core human and labour rights, environment and good governance. According to overseas reports, a GSP Plus tag for Pakistan would help it create a million new jobs, boost its exports to EU by $500 million and facilitate capital flow to the sector because of the competitive edge from tariff removal.

Ajay Sahai, director general and CEO, Federation of Indian Export Organisations, said the EC’s decision would affect the competitiveness of the country’s exports. “Even though the EC has suspended this preference for both India and China, we would be hit more since China is more competitive," Sahai said.

Indian officials are also worried about the prospect of a decline in forex inflows in a year in which they had to take harsh steps like curbing gold imports to contain the current account deficit to below $70 billion or 3.8% of GDP. "It is important for affected industries to prepare themselves for the change. The cost of specified Indian exports to the EU shall, as a result of the proposed changes, increase and accordingly will impact their competitiveness," said Saloni Roy, senior director, Deloitte in India.

"The US has already given many advantages to Pakistan due to various political reasons and with this suspension from the EU, we might see a shortfall of 2-5% in exports," said Vishwanath, joint managing director of Nath Brothers Exim International, a Noida-based firm exporting garments.

To get broader preferential access to the EU market, India is now negotiating a free trade pact with the EU, which already has such arrangements with about 34 other countries. Talks on the proposed India-EU pact are progressing slowly due to a lack of agreement on areas of market access and its extent.

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Major east coast ports witness dip in exports

VISAKHAPATNAM: In what should be a major wake up call for the government, four of the six major ports on the East Coast have witnessed a drop in export cargo over the last two financial years. Visakhapatnam Port, which exported 14.2 million tonnes of cargo in 2010-11, exported only 11.2 million tonnes in 2012-13, a drop of three million tonnes, according to data issued by the Union shipping ministry.

Chennai Port, which had topped the exports chart two years ago among the six major East Coast ports, witnessed a fall of little more than two million tonnes, while the drop in exports at Paradip Port was close to a staggering 13 million tonnes in the same period. Kolkata Port, which comprises the Kolkata Dock System and Haldia Dock Complex, also witnessed an overall drop in exports.

The VO Chidambaram Port, which was earlier known as the Tuticorin Port, saw export cargo rise by nearly 1.4 million tonnes between 2010-11 and 2011-12 but this subsequently dropped by almost 0.4 million tonnes in 2012-13.The main reason for the decline in exports from the major ports is the restrictions on iron ore mining, which has added to the burden caused by the global economic slowdown. "The economic recession is the main cause of decline in exports at the major ports. This is likely to continue this year also," said Confederation of Indian Industry, Vizag zone, chairman G Sambasiva Rao."Restrictions in iron ore mining and the economic slowdown are largely causing a decline in exports. At the same time, private ports near the major ports are snatching away the bulk of the export cargo.

To counter this, the central government should remove the Tariff Authority of Major Ports (TAMP) to provide a level playing field for major and minor ports," Water Transport Workers' Federation of India general secretary T Narendra Rao told TOI."The major ports had a traffic share of about 64% in 2010-11. This has now decreased to almost 58%. On the other hand, the share of non-major ports has gone up from 35.58% in 2010-11 to 41.54% in 2012-13," said Rao, citing a report by the Indian Ports Association (IPA) published in September 2013.

Rao also alleged that the "government is not serious about protecting major ports which do not have modern equipment and face delays in dredging projects". Visakhapatnam Port has Gangavaram Port and Kakinada Port in its neighbourhood, Chennai Port has Katupalli Port and MARG Karaikal Port, port sources pointed out. Paradip faces competition from Dhamra and Gopalpur, whereas Kolkata needs continuous dredging operations. "Iron ore used to account for a chunk of exports but this has now almost stopped because the government has slapped a 30% export duty and mining has been banned.

Besides, dredging is a major problem that should have been addressed several years ago, especially in Vizag. As a result of the continuous delays, customers prefer going to private ports that have berths ready to discharge the cargo instead of facing problems at a major port," an industry source pointed out.

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Guar exports from India seen surging as price slump spurs demand

New Delhi : A record plunge in the prices of guar gum, a thickening agent used for oil and gas extraction, may boost exports from India as demand revives among US drilling companies and European food processors.

Shipments may surge as much as 50% to 500,000 metric tons in the year that began on 1 April from 333,000 tons a year earlier, said Rajesh Kedia, director at Jai Bharat Gum & Chemicals Ltd., India’s third-largest exporter.

Shipments increased about 30% to about 210,000 tons in the five months through August, he said.Prices slumped after India, the world’s largest producer, banned futures trading in March 2012 to curb speculation and record rates cut demand from users. Rising supplies may further pressure prices, lowering costs for users Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc. Guar prices may continue to fall, Mark McCollum, Halliburton’s chief financial officer said 19 September.

The importers will definitely buy more as prices are attractive, Chowda Reddy, a senior manager at Inditrade Derivatives and Commodities Ltd., said in a phone interview from Hyderabad. Demand will increase.Guar gum futures slumped more than 50% since 15 May, when the Indian exchanges restarted trading after a 14-month ban.
The regulator suspended trading in March 2012 after prices rallied more than nine fold in one year to Rs.95,920 ($1,527) per 100 kilograms (220 pounds) on the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd. in Mumbai.

Production is seen exceeding demand for a second year, Kedia said in a phone interview from Bhiwani in Rajasthan. Processors need 1.8 million tons of guar seeds to meet export demand of 500,000 tons of guar gum, he said. Seed production in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana states, which together account for more than 99% of India’s harvest, is estimated to drop to 12% to 2.15 million tons in the year started July 1 from a year earlier, government data showed.

The erratic rains and long dry spell in western parts of Rajasthan were responsible for the lower production, said J.S. Sandhu, a joint director in the state’s agriculture department. Inventories of about 800,000 tons of guar seeds will make up more any shortfall in output, Kedia said. India accounts for more than 70% of the global output of guar, which means cow food in Hindi, according to the Multi Commodity Exchange of India Ltd. The seed is also grown in Pakistan and the US
Fracking Guar gum is used in the pressure-pumping technique known as fracking, which blasts water mixed with sand and chemicals underground to free trapped hydrocarbons from shale formations.

It is made into a thickening gel used to carry sand down a well and into the cracks created from fracturing. It is also used as an ingredient in food emulsifiers, additives and thickeners. Guar gum for delivery in December fell 0.6% to 14,620 rupees per 100 kilograms in Mumbai on Thursday. Some of the drilling companies, which began using alternative products to guar gum after the price surge last year, may return to the commodity as availability is assured at lower prices, Kedia said.
If prices continue to fall, there may be a negative impact on guar crop next year, Kedia said. Farmers are disappointed that guar prices have declined below their expectation.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

New system may cut export customs clearance to few hours: Chidambaram

Finance Minister P Chidambaram today expressed hope that the time taken for customs clearance of export cargo will come down to a few hours after implementing a risk management system.

"I sincerely hope that with the introduction of RMS in exports, the dwell time which now ranges from 1.6 days to 3.68 days will be brought down to a few hours," Chidambaram said after launching the all-India Risk Management System (RMS) for exports.
India started using the RMS for imports in December 2005 and it has helped to bring in additional revenue of Rs 2,211 crore, Chidambaram added. It has also reduced the dwell time, or the duration for which cargo remains in transit storage while awaiting clearance, for incoming shipments.

"The revenue department claims that the dwell time for imports has come down drastically after launch of RMS in imports. Likewise, RMS in exports is intended to bring down the dwell time so that the cargo meant for exports moves up quickly, leaves the shores of India towards its ultimate destination," Chidambaram said.

The time currently taken for customs clearance of export cargo in Mumbai is 1.6 days, while at the Inland Container Depot in Delhi it is 3.68 days.

Chidambaram said the RMS is based on trust and is part of international co-operation efforts on trade-related issues. The facility will enable low-risk consignments to be cleared based on self-assessment declarations by exporters.

By expediting the clearance of compliant export cargo, the system will contribute to lower dwell time, besides reducing transaction costs and making businesses internationally competitive.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

India's imports gained while exports grew negligibly from FTAs: ASSOCHAM study

In the aftermath of signing 15 regional and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), while India's imports from these countries and regions increased significantly but our exports to these partner countries either stagnated or registered minimal growth, according to a just-concluded study undertaken by apex industry body The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

India has signed as many as 15 FTAs including preferential trade pacts, while 19 are under negotiations and eight are in the pipeline but India is still grappling with slow growth of exports and sluggish foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from its FTA partners, said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM.

These engagements have achieved limited results in terms of increasing trade volumes with member countries and thus main objective of these market opening pacts is only partially being met, said Mr Rawat. There is an urgent need for the government to revisit its strategy of FTAs, bring greater transparency and involve more effective administrative process in their design and implementation to make FTAs more beneficial for India.

Out of the seven major trading partners viz., ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations), Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Sri Lanka with whom India has operationalised FTAs, it has trade surplus with only Sri Lanka and Singapore, highlighted the study prepared by the ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau (AERB).

Even on the investment front these free trade pacts have not given any extra edge to India so far as during April 2000-June 2013, India received FDI worth $1.25 billion (bn) and $14.75 bn from South Korea and Japan respectively and this year during April-June, India attracted only $224 million worth FDI from Japan while the figure was $2.23 bn in 2012-13 and $2.97 bn in 2011-12.

Considering the negative impact of these agreements on India's manufacturing sector, ASSOCHAM has suggested that trade agreements should be 'self-regulatory' to evade scope of 'safeguard measures' and the advanced partners must not be allowed to salvage Surplus capacities through exports and exploiting concessional duty rates under trade agreements.

Besides, it should be seen that trade agreements do not become a means to fill the country's short-term supply-deficit through exports made at concessional duty rates as it adds an anti-competitive element vis-vis imports from other countries. Therefore, it needs to be complemented with Specific & Time-bound commitment for inflow of Investment, otherwise the purpose of a Trade Agreement gets defeated, highlighted the ASSOCHAM study.

Considering that India's negotiations for comprehensive FTA with European Union (EU) are at an advance stage, ASSOCHAM has suggested the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to from a special team of experts to negotiate FTAs, besides the government should organize FTA outreach programmes to create awareness amid various stakeholders.

As the feasibility/joint studies conducted by the government before commencing talks for any FTA form the basis of negotiations, ASSOCHAM has also suggested for broadening the base of such studies and inviting participation from various stakeholders like academicians, representatives of the marginal, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and state government officials. Besides, Indian embassies in these countries should also be engaged to gather sensitive information while conducting such studies.

Other significant points suggested by ASSOCHAM include - constant updation of publically accessible information, consultation with governments at state level before finalizing the pacts, emphasis should be laid on sectors lucrative for domestic players and tariff rates of specific sectors where Indian traders can penetrate aggressively must be looked at.

So far, India has concluded 10 Free Trade Agreements, 5 Limited scope Preferential Trade Agreements and is in the process of negotiating or expanding 17 more Agreements. Besides, at least 9 more proposals for FTAs are under consideration and when completed, these Agreements would cover over 100 countries spread across 5 continents.

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Exports at 2-year high of 12.47%, trade gap widens

New Delhi : Recovery in global markets pushed the country’s exports to a two year high of 13.47% to $27.2 bn in October even as trade deficit worsened on account of rise in gold imports.

Commerce Secretary S R Rao said improvement in western markets have helped in pushing the exports. “Exports have shown a significant increase and imports fell significantly…All the regions are doing well. We see no concerns. Only South Asia and Latin America are marginally low,” Rao added.

In April-October, exports grew by 6.32% to $179.38 bn, while imports during the period contracted by 3.8% to $270.06 bn. Rao expressed confidence that the country would achieve the $325 bn target for the current fiscal.

“All the major sectors (engineering, textiles and gems and jewellery) having significant contribution have shown a positive growth trend,” he added. Engineering exports grew by 36% to $5.6 bn in October.
Rao said that gold and silver imports in October grew due to the clearing of air on a RBI norm for gold imports.

The RBI’s 80:20 scheme for gold imports had left many confused, leading to imports being held up at customs. Gold and silver imports increased to $1.3 bn in the month under review from $0.8 bn in September, 2013.

Reacting to the export numbers, India Inc urged the Government to restore duty drawback rates to bring down the trade deficit. “CII strongly recommends restoration of Duty Drawback Rates which have been reduced drastically last month. This will further help in gaining and maintaining India’s share in the global market,” Sanjay Budhia, Chairman, National Committee on Exports and Imports of CII saidsaid.
Duty drawback is the refund of duties on inputs imported for export items.

The government had recently rationalised the duty drawback and brought more items under the scheme for tax refund to exporters. It had reduced the rates for different engineering items.
Trade deficit jumps to $10.55 bn.

Meanwhile, the government data showed that the country’s trade deficit rose to $10.55 bn in October after narrowing to two-and-a-half-year low of $6.7 bn in the previous month as purchases of gold and silver picked up ahead of the festive season.

The value of gold imports jumped to $1.37 bn in October as compared to $800 mn in the previous month.

“Curbs on gold and silver imports have worked,” Rao said adding there were positive trend in India’s foreign trade as exports growth was consistent.

Cumulative trade deficit for April-October period of the current financial year is recorded at $90.68 billion, sharply lower than $112.03 billion registered in the corresponding period of last year.

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