India’s goods exports declined for the second consecutive month in January, falling 11.19 per cent to $23.88 billion compared with the same month last year as outbound shipments of petroleum products, oilmeal, electronic goods and iron ore continued to dip.

Imports, too, dropped 11.39 per cent to $32.20 billion during the month as oil imports fell, narrowing the country’s trade deficit to $8.32 billion.

Gold imports rose 8.13 per cent to $1.55 billion from the same month last year as the Government eased import restrictions.

While petroleum products posted the steepest export decline of 48.69 per cent (to $2.38 billion), exports of a large number of other items such as plastic and linoleum, handicrafts, jute products, cotton yarn, electronic goods, oil meal, iron ore, chemicals and gems and jewellery also suffered a decline.

Tough target

Exporters’ body FIEO said that the export target of $340 billion for the current fiscal year looks increasingly beyond reach. “In the given scenario, we will be happy if we touch $325 billion this fiscal year,” said FIEO President Rafeeque Ahmed.

FIEO has urged the Centre to restore the 3 per cent interest subvention scheme for exporters. It was discontinued at the beginning of this financial year.

The exporters’ body has also called for remission or exemption of indirect taxes on all exports, including petro products, exemption of excise on purchase of capital goods from domestic manufacturers, and timely payment of duty drawbacks.

Oil imports down

Oil imports fell 37.46 per cent to $8.24 billion in January as global prices crashed.

Although non-oil imports rose 3.45 per cent during the month to $23.95 billion, a sharp fall in the import of project goods, machinery and some raw materials indicate a slowdown in manufacturing.

Exports for the April-January period rose 2.44 per cent to $265.03 billion from the same period last year. Imports during the April-January period rose 2.17 per cent over the year-ago period to $383.41 billion. The trade deficit for the April-January period was $118.37 billion, higher than the deficit of $116.53 billion in the comparable period last year.

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