India current account deficit widens

March 29, 2013 at 5:17 AM
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NEW DELHI, March 29 (UPI) -- India's current account deficit hit a record 6.7 percent of GDP in the quarter ended in December on higher imports and slower exports, the central bank said.

"India's current account deficit widened from 5.4 per cent in Q2 to a record high of 6.7 per cent of GDP in Q3, driven mainly by larger trade deficit," the Reserve Bank of India reported on its website.

"On a BoP [balance of payments] basis, merchandise exports did not show any significant growth in Q3 of 2012-13 as compared with a 7.6 per cent growth in Q3 of 2011-12. Merchandise imports, on the contrary, registered a growth of 9.4 per cent, spurred largely by oil and gold imports," the bank said.

India's Finance Ministry said the government and central bank "will continue to monitor the CAD and will take additional steps whenever warranted." Officials said the government hoped to be able to finance the CAD through sufficient foreign inflows.

The quarterly current account deficit totaled $32.63 billion, up from $20.16 billion in the same period of last year.

The ministry said currency dealers do not expect any big adverse reaction to the numbers as they related to the previous quarter, the Times of India reported.

"The macro data that has been coming after December shows that trade deficit has come down to $15 billion," a bank treasurer told the newspaper.

Capital inflows have been strong and Indian tech companies are expecting exports to the United States to improve, he said.

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