Exports dip for 15th straight month in Feb, fall 5.6%

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Export eps

Trade deficit narrows on drop in imports of steel and gold

India’s goods exports declined for the fifteenth straight month in February 2016 falling 5.66 per cent to $20.73 billion from $21.98 billion in the same month last year as global demand continued to be weak.

The trade deficit during the month narrowed to $6.54 billion as imports declined 5.03 per cent to $27.28 billion from $28.72 billion in February 2015 mostly on account of fall in gold and steel, as per quick estimates of trade data released by the Commerce & Industry Ministry on Tuesday.

“The trend of falling exports is in tandem with other major world economies,” a Commerce Ministry press release reiterated giving examples of the US, the EU and China where exports have fallen 10.35 per cent, 7.62 per cent and 1.67 per cent respectively in December 2015.

It is clear now that total exports in the financial year 2015-16 will be well short of last year’s $310.33 billion as exports in April-February 2015-16 are just $238.41 billion, a 16.73 per cent year-on-year fall. This will be the second year of decline as exports in 2014-15 were marginally lower than the previous fiscal’s exports of $314 billion.

On the brighter side, important sectors such as gems & jewellery, drugs and pharmaceuticals and carpets & handicrafts posted a rise in exports in February 2016.

Bright spots

“Some of the sectors which were in the red last month like fruits & vegetables, meat, dairy and poultry products, organic & inorganic products, chemicals have turned out to be positive,” pointed out SC Ralhan, President, FIEO.

However, the relatively lower decline in exports in February 2016 was largely on account of a low export base in February 2015 which itself was based on a 15 per cent year-on-year decline, he added.

Most sectors such as petroleum, engineering goods, readymade garments, leather and a number of agricultural products continued to decline during the month.

Fall in imports in February was mostly due to a drop in import of gold and iron and steel. Gold import fell sharply by 29.49 per cent to $1.39 billion due to a decline in gold prices. Import of iron and steel fell 12.46 per cent during the month to $1.07 billion responding to the increase in the minimum import price of steel.

Total exports in the period April-February 2015-16 fell 16.73 per cent to $238.41 billion and imports during the same period fell 14.74 per cent to $351.80 billion.

Non-petroleum exports in February 2016 posted a 2.69 per cent decline at $18.90 billion.

The fall in exports of non-petroleum items (petroleum exports declined 28.27 per cent to $1.83 billion mainly due to fall in global prices) in February 2016 was a lower 2.69 per cent at $18.90 billion.

In April-February 2015-16, non-petroleum exports fell 8.98 per cent to $211.31 billion.

Published on March 15, 2016

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