Exports down 6% in August as most major sectors falter

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 26, 2019 Published on September 13, 2019

Sharper fall in imports narrows trade deficit to $13.45 billion

India’s goods exports contracted 6.05 per cent to $26.13 billion in August (year-on-year) with most major sectors such as petroleum products, engineering goods, leather and leather products, readymade garments, and gems and jewellery posting a fall.

However, the trade deficit in August narrowed to $13.45 billion from $17.92 billion in August 2018 as the fall in imports during the month was much steeper at 13.45 per cent to $39.58 billion compared to the same month last year.

The fall in imports was sharpest for sectors including gold, petroleum, coal, chemicals and machinery, according to quick estimates released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry on Friday.

“...such a contraction in exports is a reflection of uncertainties, sluggish global demand and rising tariff war. The softening of crude, steel and other commodities prices also pulled down exports,” said FIEO President SK Saraf.

In July, exports had posted a small growth of 2.25 per cent to $26.3 billion.

Listing out measures that could help exporters, Saraf said that domestic issues including access to credit, cost of funds, especially for merchant exporters, interest equalisation support to all agriculture exports, benefits on sales to foreign tourists, and quick refund of GST, particularly ITC refund, should be seriously looked into.

Total exports for April-August 2019-20 were 1.53 per cent lower at $133.54 billion. Imports during the period fell 5.68 per cent to $206.39 billion. The overall trade deficit for April-August 2019-20 narrowed to $72.85 billion from $83.19 billion in the same period last year.

Only eight out of 30 major product groups posted a growth in exports in August 2019. These include electronic goods, iron-ore, ceramic products and glassware, mica, coal and other ores, minerals including processed minerals, marine products, cashew, spices and tea.

Published on September 13, 2019
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