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India Plans To Return To Once-A-Month Releases Of Import And Export Data

Due to wide discrepancies in twice-monthly trade data, India could soon return to a once-a-month government release of data and scrap an early preliminary release of imports and exports, Bloomberg reported on Monday, quoting sources with knowledge of the plans.  

This would mean that the trade deficit and the value of exports and imports, including petroleum products and crude oil, will be released once a month for the previous month, according to the plans of the Indian trade ministry.

The ministry is reportedly considering the move because in recent months, due to the wide fluctuations in oil prices and prices of all other commodities as well as currencies, the early data and the final trade data diverged significantly. For example, the preliminary export data for August and September showed the value of Indian exports dropped, but the final data showed growth in the value of exports.

A once-a-month release, such as those India issued before 2020, would give analysts a wider and clearer picture of how Indian imports and exports fared, according to Bloomberg’s sources.

In oil imports, India—the world’s third-largest crude oil importer—is estimated to have seen Russia become its biggest crude oil supplier in October, for the first time.

Russia overtook OPEC heavyweights Iraq and Saudi Arabia to become the largest crude oil supplier to India in October, with record shipments of 946,000 barrels per day (bpd), the Economic Times reported last week, quoting estimates from energy analytics firm Vortexa.

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, India was a small marginal buyer of Russian crude oil. After Western buyers started shunning crude from Russia, India became a top destination for Russian oil exports alongside China.

According to Vortexa’s estimates, India shipped in a record 946,000 bpd of crude from Russia last month, up by 8% compared to September. Total Indian imports increased by 5% month on month in October, Vortexa data cited by the Economic Times showed. Russian crude accounted for 22% of all Indian oil imports last month, while Iraq’s share was at 20.5% and Saudi Arabia’s—at 16%.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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