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Export growth at 23.5 pc during April-Oct Traditional items perform well

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G. Srinivasan

New Delhi, Jan. 18

FOUR traditional items agriculture and allied products, gems and jewellery, chemicals and related products and engineering goods accounting for close to 58 per cent of the country's total exports, performed exceedingly well during the first seven months of the 2005-06 fiscal to pull the overall export growth rate to 23.50 per cent in dollar terms.

Disaggregated trade data based on provisional figures of the Directorate-General of Commercial Intelligence & Statistics (DGCI&S) Kolkata and compiled by the Economic Division of the Department of Commerce show that agriculture and allied products with a weight of 7.03 per cent in total exports notched up a robust 18.17 per cent growth during April-October 2005 at $1,145.39 million, against $973.18 million in the corresponding months of 2004.

While gems and jewellery (weight 17.88 per cent) posted a growth of 26.90 per cent at $9,347.51 million during April-October 2005 as against $7,366.03 million in the corresponding months of 2004, chemicals and related products (14.66 per cent) logged a 17.79 per cent growth at $7,663.53 million ($6,506.17 million). Engineering goods with a weight of 18.06 per cent in total exports performed well by clocking up a growth of 25.47 per cent at $9,441.81 million ($7,525.00 million).

Another traditional export item, textiles (weight 14.25 per cent) which had not been doing well in the last couple of years, appeared to have reversed its skidding show by registering a modest 6.72 per cent growth during the period under review at $7,448.79 million ($6,979.97 million).

Even as the country had been paying through the nose to import crude, its export of petroleum products accounting for a respectable share of 11.05 in aggregate exports, registered an impressive 57.71 per cent growth at $5,779.25 million ($3,664.49 million).

Overall, exports during the first seven months of the current fiscal at $52,284.12 million against $42,334.29 million in the corresponding months of the previous fiscal show a growth rate of 23.50 per cent.

Destination-wise, India's exports to Asia and Oceania, which absorb as much as 47.03 per cent of the country's exports, showed a growth of 26.08 per cent at $24,587.59 million during the period under review, against $19,501.24 million in the corresponding months of 2004. Exports to West Europe, which takes as much as 23.07 per cent of the exports, showed a growth of 24.66 per cent at $12,533.21 million ($10,054.26 million).

While exports to the Americas (21.03 per cent) registered a growth of 18.05 per cent at $10,997.02 million ($9,315.81 million), India's exports to Latin American countries, despite accounting for a meagre 3.07 per cent in overall exports, recorded a 37.08 per cent growth at $1,605.62 million ($1,171.32 million).

Among the top 15 countries for exports, Singapore logged the highest growth of 68 per cent during the period under discussion, followed by Sri Lanka of 54 per cent, the Netherlands of 53 per cent, and South Africa of 49 per cent and China of 49 per cent.

Spurt in imports

On the import front, bulk imports, which account for close to 44 per cent in the country's total imports, registered a hefty growth of 41 per cent at $33,524.53 million ($23,816.79 million). This was followed by import of petroleum crude and products, which, with a share of 31.82 per cent in aggregate imports, recorded a growth of 41.41 per cent at $24,392.16 million ($17,249.33 million).

The spurt in imports owed mostly to the pronounced hike in the cost of imported crude price and less to any marked jump in indigenous consumption even as the latter's growth is relatively faster in the wake of a pickup in the growth of the economy. This is also evident from a big jump in machinery imports which registered a 47 per cent growth at $7,360.13 million ($5,021.44 million) even as this segment accounts for a share of 9.60 per cent in total imports.

Interestingly, import of gold and jewellery (9.02 per cent) logged a growth of 34.02 per cent during the period under review at $6,916.80 million ($5,159.36 million), while import of electronic goods (8.18 per cent) registered a growth of 18 per cent at $6,273.19 million ($5,321.58 million).

On the whole, imports during the period April-October 2005 at $76,647.86 million was 34.33 per cent higher than the level of imports at $57,060.12 million in the corresponding period of 2004.

Destination wise, the country's imports from West Asia were a shade higher than from Asia and Oceania even as the latter continues to be the major source of imports. Asia and Oceania which account for a share of 33.39 per cent in the country's aggregate imports logged a growth of 30.42 per cent at $25,593.78 million ($19,623.89 million), while import from West Europe (21.33 per cent) registered a growth of 33.25 per cent at $16,350.92 million ($12,271.08 million). Import from the Americas (share being 7,67 pr cent) was showing a growth of 26 per cent at $5,880.63 million ($4,674.26 million).

Among the top 15 countries for India's imports, the highest growth was shown by Germany at 48 per cent, followed by China at 47 per cent, Switzerland and Hong Kong at 43 per cent each and South Africa and the United Arab Emirates at 40 per cent each.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 19, 2006)
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