Current account deficit at all-time high of 6.7% in Q3

New Delhi: India's current account deficit (CAD) touched a record high of 6.7 per cent of GDP in the October-December quarter, mainly on account of widening trade gap.

The CAD, which is the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign currency, "widened from 5.4 per cent in Q2 (July-September) to a record high of 6.7 per cent of GDP in Q3, driven mainly by large trade deficit" RBI said in its report on Balance of Payments.

The report said while the merchandise exports did not show any significant growth during the third quarter ending December 2012, the imports shot up by 9.4 per cent, spurred largely by oil and gold imports.

The trade deficit, RBI said, widened to USD 59.6 billion in third quarter, up from USD 48.6 billion in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram in his Budget speech had said: "my greater worry is the CAD". He attributed the rise in the CAD to factors like excessive dependence on oil imports, the high volume of coal imports, passion for gold and slowdown in exports.

During April-December 2012, CAD stood at USD 71.7 billion accounting for 5.4 per cent of GDP as against USD 56.5 billion (4.1 per cent of GDP) in the same period of 2011.

According to RBI report, CAD in the Q3 rose by over 61 per cent to USD 32.6 billion, from USD 20.2 billion in the corresponding quarter last fiscal.

The central bank said the surge in capital inflows, mainly on account of portfolio investment, would help in financing the higher CAD.

The FII inflow during the quarter rose to USD 8.6 billion from USD 1.8 billion a year ago.