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Traditional items drive H1 export growth 22%

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G. Srinivasan

New Delhi, Dec. 22

TRADITIONAL export items such as agriculture and allied products, chemicals and related products, engineering goods and gems and jewellery and unconventional items such as petroleum products accounting for a major share of the country's export baskets did reasonably well during the first half of this fiscal to ensure a 22 per cent growth of exports in dollar terms.

Disaggregated trade data compiled by the Commerce Ministry on the basis of provisional readings of the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence & Statistics show that even as textiles and clothing, another important export item holding a share of 14.36 per cent in aggregate exports, put on a tepid performance despite the removal of the quota regime. Exports of textiles items grew by a meagre 2.94 per cent during April-September 2005 at $6,300.40 million, against $6,120.60 million in the corresponding months of 2004, confirming the initial fears that low-cost suppliers such as China and Bangladesh would do better than India in the post-quota regime.

While agriculture and allied products exports (7.13 per cent weight) posted a growth of 15.44 per cent during the first half of the fiscal at $3,129.42 million ($2,708.46 million), chemicals and related products (14.80 per cent) did reasonably well by notching up a growth of 23.93 per cent at $7,661.42 million ($6,182.04 million).

Exports of engineering goods (18.37 per cent) posted a growth of 25.49 per cent at $8,061.81 million ($6,424.30 million), while exports of petroleum products (10.54 per cent) chipped in effectively by logging a growth of 58 per cent at $4,623.94 million ($2926.70 million). A surprising show was put on by exports of ores and minerals, which, with a share of five per cent, registered a growth of 40.28 per cent at $2,195.39 million ($1,565.06 million).

On the whole, exports during the first half of the fiscal registered a growth of 21.92 per cent $43,883.89 million, against $35,995.12 million. Among the top 15 countries for India's exports, Singapore recorded the highest growth at 59 per cent, followed by South Korea at 56 per cent, Sri Lanka at 55 per cent, China at 51 per cent and the Netherlands at 48 per cent.

Destination-wise, Western Europe, accounting for a share of 24.21 in India's total exports, logged a growth of 22.82 per cent at $19,622.64 million during the first half of the fiscal ($8648.94 million). Asia and Oceania, absorbing 47 per cent of the country's total exports, did reasonably well by clocking up a growth of 23.42 per cent at $14,353.44 million ($11,158.29 million).

While India's exports to the Americas (21.10 per cent) went up by 17.83 per cent at $9,257.33 million ($7,856.66 million), exports to Latin American countries (3.24 per cent share) were up by a hefty 55 per cent at $1,420.05 million ($916.82 million).

Though Africa accounts for a share of just seven per cent in India's total exports, exports to this region grew by a wholesome 38.80 per cent at $3,053.22 million ($2199.74 million). On the import front, bulk imports, with a weight of 43.89 in aggregate imports, notched up a growth of 42.65 per cent at $28,665.81 million ($20,095.52 million). Even as petroleum crude and products account for a share of 32.08 per cent in total imports, they recorded a substantial spurt by registering a growth of 43.66 per cent at $20,952.07 million ($14,584.09 million), mostly contributed by a steep hike in global crude prices.

Machinery imports (9.20 per cent) also did exceedingly well by logging a growth of 42.62 per cent at $6,008.62 million ($4,212.92 million), reflecting the pick-up in domestic industrial activity and accelerated import of industrial machinery items for export production.

There has been a steep increase of 47.23 per cent in the import growth of gold and silver, which, with a share of 9.89 per cent in total imports, amounted to $6,456.75 million during the first half of the fiscal ($4,385.39 million).

Overall, imports from April to September 2005 grew by 35.72 per cent at $65,316.65 million ($48,125.45 million). Among the top 15 countries for imports, the highest growth was registered by Switzerland at 59 per cent, followed by the United Arab Emirates at 53 per cent, Germany at 51 per cent, South Africa at 47 per cent, Hong Kong at 42 per cent, China at 42 per cent and Australia at 40 per cent.

Destination-wise, Western Europe, as a source for Indian imports (with a share of 21.76 per cent in the country's total imports), saw a growth of 35.54 per cent during the period under review at $14,214.80 million ($10,487.87 million). India's imports from Asia and Oceania (32.81 per cent share) grew by 30.25 per cent at $21,427.33 million ($16,450.38 million). India's imports from the Americas (7.48 per cent) grew by 26.39 per cent at $4,885 million ($3,864.95 million). India's imports from Latin America (1.67 per cent) also went up by a huge 32.90 per cent at $1,092.95 million ($822.40 million).

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 23, 2005)
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