Economy

Feb exports grow slowest in 3 months to $25 b

Arun S. New Delhi | Updated on November 15, 2017 Published on April 02, 2012

BL02_FOREIGNTRADE.eps

Imports grow faster to $40 b raising concerns over rising trade deficit

India's merchandise exports during February grew just 4.28 per cent year-on-year -- the slowest in three months -- to $24.62 billion.

This was because of the persisting weak demand in markets abroad especially Europe for goods such as textiles, electronics and engineering.

However, official data released on Monday, showed that imports during the month rose much faster at 20.65 per cent to $39.78 billion, resulting in a trade deficit (export-import gap) of $15.2 billion.

GROWING PROTECTIONISM

Reacting to the latest figures, Mr M. Rafeeque Ahmed, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisations expressed concerns over the growing protectionism in many countries and its consequent adverse impact on trade.

However, India’s strategy to diversify its exports to Latin America, Africa and Asia (from the traditional markets of the US and Europe) coupled with the decision of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa at their recent BRICS Summit to boost trade in local currencies and the emerging opportunities in Iran will help exporters sail through the rough weather, he added.

TO MISS $300-B TARGET

Meanwhile, cumulative value of exports during April 2011-February 2012 touched $267.4 billion registering a 21.42 per cent growth. (Shipments for the 11 months in 2011-12 have crossed the total exports of the previous financial year of $250.46 billion.)

However, Mr Ahmed said exports for 2011-12 may only get to $290 billion, thus missing the $300 billion target.

He said the second and third quarter of 2012 would be a difficult period for exports, adding that the situation in Euro zone is expected to improve in the fourth Quarter.

RECORD TRADE DEFICIT

Imports during April 2011-February 2012 outpaced exports by growing at 29.41 per cent to reach $434.16 billion. (The high import bill was mainly due to the rise in prices of oil and other commodities.)

The huge growth in imports has widened the trade deficit for the 11-month period in 2011-12 to $166.75 billion from $115.26 billion during the same period in the previous fiscal.

The Commerce Ministry had last month revised upwards its estimates of trade deficit for 2011-12 to a record $175-180 billion, up from the earlier expected $160 billion. (The trade deficit in 2010-11 was only $130.5 billion, according to RBI data.)

OIL AND NON-OIL IMPORTS

Oil imports during February grew by 39.45 per cent to $12.65 billion, while imports of the commodity during April 2011-February 2012 jumped 41 per cent to $132.56 billion.

Meanwhile, non-oil imports, including capital goods, during February registered 13.5 per cent growth to $27.1 billion, while imports of these goods during April 2011-February 2012 grew by 24.89 per cent to $301.6 billion.

MAIN COMPONENTS

The main drivers of exports during April 2011-February 2012 were engineering ($54.5 billion at a 20.9 per cent growth); petroleum products ($53 billion, and 46 per cent); gems and jewellery ($40.6 billion, and 28.8 per cent).

On the other hand, the major components of imports during the 11 months of the last fiscal were oil ($132.6 billion, and 41 per cent); gold and silver ($55 billion and 38.5 per cent); machinery ($32.2 billion and 27 per cent).

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Published on April 02, 2012
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