India’s engineering goods exports to nearly seventeen key markets, including the US and China, declined in February 2023 as outbound shipments from the sector fell for the seventh straight month, per an analysis shared by EEPC India on Wednesday. These exports dwindled 9.68 per cent in February 2023 to $8.58 billion from $9.50 billion in the same month last year.

“Our analysis indicates that global decline in demand for metals and metal products is mostly responsible for the negative growth in India’s exports. However, rising raw material prices especially iron and steel have also made our metal exporters less competitive in the global market,” according to Arun Kumar Garodia, Chairman, EEPC India. 

Few positives

Engineering exports, which account for almost a fourth of total exports of goods from the country, also posted a 4.24 per cent decline in April-February 2022-23 to $96.85 billion from $101.14 billion in April-February 2021-22.

Global trade projections are not optimistic but there are a few positives, Garodia said. “There is a forecast of slow but gradual recovery. China, the largest global consumer, is also expected to recover from its real estate and financial crisis albeit at a slow pace. In this background, India may also look towards a slow recovery,” he pointed out.

Overall goods exports from India in February 2023 fell 8.8 per cent to $33.88 billion but in the April-February 2022-23 period, exports recorded an increase of 7.55 per cent to $405.94 billion compared to the same period last year.

India’s engineering shipments to the US dipped 9.1 per cent in February to $1.35 billion from $1.49 billion in the same month last year. Total engineering exports to the US in April-February 2022-23, however, posted a 10.8 per cent increase.

Exports to China, another key market for engineering products, continued to fall with exports plummeting 33.3 per cent in February 2023 to $205.8 million from $308.8 million in February 2022. The decline of exports to China in the April-February 2022-23 period was sharper at 54 per cent to $2.4 billion compared to $5.21 billion in the same period last fiscal.

Top markets

India’s top export markets for engineering goods recording growth in February 2023 were Singapore, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Indonesia, according to the analysis. Major destinations where exports fell include Germany and Italy.

Region-wise, export growth was noted only in the ten-member ASEAN and WANA (West Asia and North Africa) during February 2023. In the April-February 2022-23 period, growth in exports was witnessed in North America followed by Latin America and Oceania while the highest decline was observed in North-East Asia, the report pointed out.