Exports contract 9.71% in June; trade deficit narrows to $15.28 b

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 15, 2019 Published on July 15, 2019

Exporters have made a case for some hand-holding by the government   -  istock/Waldemarus

High base effect, weakening of global trade contributed to fall, says Govt

India’s exports contracted 9.71 per cent in June 2019 (year-on-year) to $25.01 billion, the first fall this fiscal, as outbound shipments of major items such as petroleum products, gems & jewellery, readymade garments, engineering goods and cotton yarn fabric took a hit.

Imports declined 9.06 per cent during the month to $40.29 billion, which resulted in trade deficit shrinking 7.98 per cent to $15.28 billion, as per figures released by the Commerce Department on Monday.

“The decline in exports in June 2019 is due to a number of factors, including a high base effect of an extraordinarily good month in June 2018, the projected weakening of global trade growth to 2.6 per cent in 2019 and many major economies, including the US, Japan, China and the EU, showing negative exports,” Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said at a press conference.

The US withdrew the Generalised System of Preferences scheme, in June 2019, which may also have contributed to the dip in exports. GSP offered duty-free market access to over 3,000 products from India.

Petroleum products exports, which declined significantly in June, was partly due to the temporary shutdown of Jamnagar refinery and ONGC Mangalore Petrochemical Ltd, the Secretary said, adding that engineering goods were affected because of a fall in global prices of steel. Wadhawan said the Commerce Ministry was working with exporters to ensure “good growth’’ in the coming months.

Petroleum imports recorded a fall of 13.33 per cent to $11.03 billion in June as global Brent price decreased by 15.81 per cent during the month.

India’s total exports in the April-June period stood at $80.88 billion, 1.2 per cent lower than in the first quarter of the previous fiscal.

Total imports in the April-June 2019-20 period stood at $127.3 billion, 0.69 per cent lower than imports in the same period last year.

The country’s exports of goods in 2018-19 registered a 9.06 per cent growth to hit a new high of $331 billion, breaching the previous high of $314 billion clocked in 2013-14.

Performance, however, started slowing down in the first two months of the on-going fiscal, with continued slowdown in world trade and increased protectionism.

Published on July 15, 2019
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