Oil slump to help India improve negative trade balance: Mexican envoy

Kolkata, Sep 17 (IANS) Following the slump in oil prices, the trade balance between India and Mexico may shift towards the former’s favour, Mexican Ambassador to India Melba Pria said on Thursday.

“Our balance (of trade) will have a plunge because we trade a lot with India in oil. (The) oil that was $90-100 a barrel has come down to $47-52. The balance of trade is tilted towards Mexico at the moment, but I am sure this year it will be titled towards India,” she told media persons here on the sidelines of an event organised by CII.

Pria said the fall in global oil prices has presented India the opportunity to increase its oil trade with her country.

“It is very good for India at the moment to buy oil from Mexico,” she said.

As per official data from the commerce department, total exports from India during fiscal 2014-15 increased momentously by 28.47 percent at $ 2,861.55 million as against the export figure of $ 2,227.44 million in the year-ago period.

However, valuation of Indian imports from the North American country declined by 7.60 percent at $3,393.15 million as compared to $3,672.43 million during 2013-14, resulting in India having a trade deficit of $531.6 million in the last fiscal.

Pria said the Mexican exports to India have reflected a decline primarily on account of the valuation of oil barrels while the quantity has remained stable.

“The numbers (volume of trade) have not come down but if we are selling the same number of barrels at a lower price, that (export valuation) will change,” she said.

The total bilateral trade increased by six percent at $6,254.70 million during 2014-15 as against $5,899.87 million during the fiscal ended March 31, 2014.

“This year (2015-16), I am sure the trade deficit (fom India) will come down even more. Last year, the oil prices started well and then went on a slump but prices this year have been down,” she said.

Pria also said that although Mexico has made foreign direct investments to the tune of $1 billion in India, it is not considering any such investment in India in the near future.

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