Growth in exports of goods from India reached its peak in the last month of fiscal 2016-17 with a 27.59 per cent increase, year-on-year, to $29.23 billion in March 2017.

After two continuous years of decline, exports in April-March 2016-17 posted an increase of 4.71 per cent to $274.64 billion compared to the previous fiscal, as per the quick estimates of trade data released by the Commerce Ministry on Thursday.

Fuelled by a sharp rise in global orders for engineering goods, ready-made garments and petroleum products, this is the second consecutive month of double-digit growth in exports.

Rise in rupee value “The export growth is even more laudable when seen in the context of a sharp rise in rupee value working to the disadvantage of Indian exports to the extent of about 6 per cent in the last three months,” TS Bhasin, Chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council, pointed out.

Exporters, however, fear that the forecast of global trade decelerating this year may not augur well for the future.

“The global scenario reflecting downward forecast for global trade by the World Trade Organisation in 2017 at 2.7 per cent does not reflect a positive picture,” pointed out GK Gupta, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

Imports posted a sharper increase of 45.25 per cent during March 2017 to $39.66 billion as gold imports jumped more than three times compared to March 2016. Imports of petroleum products, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, chemicals and coal, too, registered a steep rise.

Trade deficit, however, doubled to $10.43 billion during the month compared to $4.39 billion in the same month last fiscal.

“The growth in exports is positive for all major economies including the US (8.99 per cent), the EU (9.27 per cent), China (7.85 per cent) and Japan (4.48 per cent) for January 2017 over the corresponding period of previous year as per latest World Trade Organisation statistics,” an official release stated.

Cumulative value of imports for April-March 2016-17 was $380.36 billion which was 0.17 per cent lower than imports in the previous fiscal. As a result, trade deficit during the year narrowed to $105.72 billion compared to $118.71 billion the year before.

Oil imports Oil imports during March 2017 were valued at $9.71 billion which was 101.43 per cent higher than oil imports in March 2016. Non-oil imports during March, 2017 were estimated at $29.95 billion which was 33.21 per cent higher than non-oil imports of $22.48 billion in March 2016.

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