Agri Business

Robust 32% rise in Jan exports to $20.6b

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 12, 2011

Dr Rahul Khullar

Rising demand for almost all items in overseas markets helped goods exports in January 2011 record an impressive 32.5 per cent annual growth to touch $20.6 billion, provisional data released by the Commerce Ministry on Saturday showed. But it was lesser than the 33-month high of $22.5 billion in December 2010.

The cumulative exports during April 2010-January 2011 grew by 29.4 per cent to $184.6 billion. “Export performance so far has been pretty good. The data for February (to be released next month) will show that exports have crossed this fiscal's target of $200 billion. That means exports for 2010-11 should be $220-225 billion,” the Commerce Secretary, Dr Rahul Khullar, told reporters.

Import growth

Merchandise imports for January grew by 13.1 per cent to $28.6 billion, leaving a trade deficit (the gap between imports and exports) of $8 billion. Total imports during April 2010-January 2011 grew by 17.6 per cent to $273.6 billion, taking the overall trade deficit to $89 billion.

Dr Khullar said the increasing domestic demand together with the growth in industrial activity and the need to re-export value-added items were the reasons for the import growth.

He said the trade deficit for 2010-11 would only be around $105-110 billion, much lower that the initial estimate of $135 billion. He added that the export growth outpacing the import growth by nearly 12 per cent during April-January was good for the country in this regard.

Dr Khullar said the import numbers were only preliminary estimates and would be revised soon.

Export composition

Disaggregated data revealed that only exports of rice, iron ore as well as fruits and vegetables (including onion) showed a negative growth, thanks to an export ban on them. All other export sectors recorded a robust growth during April-January. Engineering recorded growth of 70 per cent to cross $45 billion, while gems and jewellery grew by 9.3 per cent to $24.5 billion. These two constituted over a third of total exports.

The 52 per cent overall growth of cotton yarn and made-ups were due to cotton prices going up globally by around 2.5 times from last year. Pharmaceutical exports are set to cross $10 billion for the fiscal, while carpet exports would surpass $1 billion in 2010-11.

> arun.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on February 12, 2011

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