Rising demand from the US and the EU helped India’s merchandise exports grow for the fourth straight month in October compared with the previous year.

Imports continued to decline bringing down the trade deficit to $10.5 billion during the month. This is almost half the $20.21 billion registered in October 2012.

Riding on increased demand for engineering goods, exports posted a robust 13.47 per cent growth to $27.27 billion in October 2013 compared with $24.03 billion a year ago. The trade deficit, however, stood at nearly double the 30-month low of $6.7 billion touched in September, mostly due to a small recovery in the demand for gold in the festival season.

But Government officials are not worried. “We are confident of reaching the export target of $325 billion this fiscal and significantly contain the trade deficit,” Commerce Secretary S. R. Rao said, addressing a press conference on Monday. Imports during the month declined 14.5 per cent to $37.82 billion as gold and silver inflows fell 79.9 per cent to $1.37 billion. Import of gold and silver in September was lower at $800 million. “Import of gold is slightly higher than in September, but we expected it because of the festivals,” a Commerce Department official told Business Line.

While exports have increased across sectors, specifically, engineering goods did well in October posting a growth of 36 per cent to $35 billion.

Garment is another segment that is performing well with increased orders not just from the EU and the US, but also new markets such as West Asia, Latin America and Japan.

“Big brands and international chain stores like GAP, Zara, Mango, Elcorte, Desigual, Tommy Hilfiger, Walmart, H&M, JC Penny and Target are sourcing garments from India. It seems we can achieve the apparel export target of $17 billion set by the Government,” Apparel Export Promotion Council chief A. Sakthivel said.

Exports during the April-October period grew 6.32 per cent to $179.37 billion. Imports at $270 billion were lower by 3.8 per cent.

amiti.sen@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 11, 2013)
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