India likely to stop releasing early trade data estimate – official

By Shivangi Acharya

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's federal trade ministry is unlikely to continue releasing trade data twice a month, walking back on its practice of making a preliminary estimate public, a senior government official said.

The move aims to dispel any confusion over divergence between the two sets of data, federal trade secretary Sunil Barthwal told reporters in New Delhi.

"Probably, when we get all this data in digital mode, we will be able to advance the release and maybe then it starts coming in the first week of the month,” Barthwal added.

The practice of providing an initial estimate of trade data, followed by revised figures later in the month, began in late 2020.

India's merchandise trade deficit in October widened to $26.91 billion from $25.71 billion in the previous month, a Reuters calculation based on export and import data released by the government on Tuesday showed.

The South Asian nation's rising trade gap can be attributed in part to a fall in exports as global consumption weakens due to tighter monetary policies, while India may increase some imports as its economy expands, Barthwal said.

(Reporting by Shivangi Acharya; Editing by Mark Potter)