India says trade deficit 'ballooning'

India on Friday said its trade deficit was "ballooning" after imports sharply outpaced exports last month.

Imports accelerated by 21 percent to $40 billion in February from a year earlier, mainly driven by oil purchases, while merchandise exports grew by by a much slower 4.3 percent to $24.6 billion, hit by weak global markets.

"There is a large ballooning of the trade deficit," India's Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said in New Delhi.

The government raised its trade deficit forecast for the financial year to March 31 to $175 billion-$180 billion from $160 billion projected earlier. The trade gap totalled $104 billion last year.

Khullar told reporters that exports for the current fiscal year could undershoot the government's initial $300-billion target by a few billion dollars.

The bigger projected trade gap could also widen the current account deficit -- the total sum of trade and investment flows, analysts said.

Last month, the government forecast the trade gap would be 3.5 percent of gross domestic product, the worst performance in nearly in a decade.

The slowing export figures come on top of a raft of other disappointing Indian economic indicators.

Recent data showed that the economy expanded by an annual 6.1 percent in the final quarter of 2011, the slowest pace in three years.

  • How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds 11 hours ago
    How a mom stole a car in under 60 seconds

    “I didn't steal your car but I think my mom may have. It's a long story. I'll explain, but your car is safe and sound," read the flier posted in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a strange tale that began when Cheyrl Thorpe was asked by her daughter Nekisia Davis to dog sit her Pomeranian at her apartment, according to New York Magazine.

  • All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground 13 hours ago
    All-new 2015 Subaru Outback reestablishes higher ground

    Much of Subaru’s modern day success in America can be attributed to one car: the Outback. Born in 1994 as a response to the growing popularity of SUVs, the Outback established a winning formula of combining a high-riding suspension, butch body cladding and big round fog lights to its comfortable, no-nonsense Legacy wagon. It is the kind of unique product that only a quirky company like Subaru could build, and was one that kept Subaru from slipping into ubiquity even as traditional SUVs and crossovers have taken over the world.

  • Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers 14 hours ago
    Custom faux-tique electric tram aims to replace New York's horses over the neigh-sayers

    For the record, it's the year 2014. I mention that in case someone reading this story about a push to replace horses with motorized carriages thinks they've stumbled onto some archival piece by accident. It's been more than 100 years since the first vehicles began to trundle around Manhattan, but the last remaining vestiges of horse-powered transport in the city could be nigh — if the backers of a massive electric wagon get their way.

  • Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers
    Singaporeans slam NEA's $120 licence requirement for tissue sellers

    Singaporeans on social media reacted angrily to news that tissue sellers at hawker centres and street corners are being required to pay for an annual licence.

  • Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry
    Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

    Heart-wrenching messages of fear, love and despair, sent by high school students from a sinking South Korean ferry, added extra emotional weight Thursday to a tragedy that has stunned the nation. Nearly 300 people -- most of them students on a high school trip to a holiday island -- are still missing after the ferry capsized and sank on Wednesday morning. Mom, I love you," student Shin Young-Jin said in a text to his mother that was widely circulated in the South Korean media.

  • ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says
    ‘Huge’ Hindu, Buddhist statues against Islam, ex-judge says

    KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — The “huge” statues at a Hindu temple in Batu Caves and Buddhist temple in Penang are an affront to Islam as the religion forbids idolatry, a retired Court of Appeals judge...