Outward FDI drops 58% to $1.35 bn in Oct: RBI

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Despite total imports growing by the slowest pace this calendar year, the trade deficit increased to a 35-month high of $14 billion.

Export declined by 1.12 per cent to $23 billion in October, retreating from a six-month high growth in September as shipments of textiles, pharmaceuticals, leather and gems and jewellery fell.

Overseas investments by Indian firms dropped about 58 percent in October to Dollars 1.35 billion on annual basis, as per the RBI data.

The trade deficit widened to $14.02 billion last month from $8.98 billion in September, data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed.

Outward foreign direct investment by Indian companies had totalled Dollars 3.2 billion in October previous year.

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Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), president, Ganesh Kumar Gupta said that the fall was expected as exporters particularly MSME were facing liquidity problem to pay GST for four months in a row without getting any refund.

Gupta said that it was worrisome that labour-intensive sectors such as gems and jewellery, garments, handicrafts and leather products were the worst affected and the government needs to take remedial measures to prevent a further decline. "Implementation of the measures approved by GST Council is not taking place as a result challenges faced by the exporters remain the same", he added.

In October, major commodities which recorded a positive growth in outbound shipment are plastic & linoleum (24.46%), organic & inorganic chemicals (22.29%), petroleum products (14.74%), engineering goods (11.77%), marine products (8.52%) and cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, handloom products etc (4.83%).

These investments were lower on sequential basis as well, down from Dollars 2.65 billion in September this year. He added that exports should be kept out of the purview of GST as paying the tax first and getting refund later is cumbersome, in turn affecting exports.

Cumulative exports during April-October 2017-18 increased by 9.62 per cent to USD 170.28 billion, while imports grew by 22.21 per cent to USD 256.43 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 86.14 billion. Aditi Nayar, principal economist with rating agency Icra, says: "Gold imports contracted in October despite onset of the festive and wedding season, given the build-up of substantial stocks over the past few months".

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