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Last updated: 19 Jun, 2018  

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Bikky Khosla | 19 Jun, 2018

Exports increased by over 20 percent in May. According to official data released last week, the value of merchandise goods shipped out in the month stood at $28.86 billion, rising from $24.01 billion in May last year. Total value of exports for the April-May 2018-19 period now stood at $54.77 billion. This data is encouraging, particularly with sectors like engineering goods, pharmaceuticals and handloom showing healthy growth. However, widening trade deficit is a concern which needs to be taken care of.

Meanwhile, services exports also showed healthy growth in April. According to RBI data for the sector that came out with a lag of around 45 days, services exports from the country for the month increased 36.1 percent to $17.56 billion in April 2018 over April 2017. However, services imports also jumped 51.1 percent to $10.92 billion in the month. In a latest development, the Commerce Minister said the government has planned to spend $1 billion to boost services exports from 12 champion services sectors. It is good news.

Now let's have a look at the April industrial output data released last week. According to official figures, industrial output grew 4.9 percent in the month over a year ago. Most remarkably, manufacturing, which contributes more than three-fourths to the index, expanded by 5.2 percent. In terms of industries, sixteen out of the twenty three industry groups in the manufacturing sector showed positive y-o-y growth. It is also worth-mentioning that capital goods' output increased 13 percent in the month.

But inflation data for May gives a dismal picture. Retail inflation for the month stood at 4.87 percent, reaching a four-month high and registering more than double growth over the 2.18 percent recorded in the same month last year, and up from the 4.58 percent recorded in April 2018. Similarly, wholesale inflation stood at a 14-month high of 4.43 percent in May. High oil and food prices played a key role in this spike, which, though not unexpected, should not be left unattended.

I invite your opinions.

 
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