Logistics

Exports plummet 34% in March

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 15, 2020 Published on April 15, 2020

Imports in March 2020 were also severely hit falling 28.72 per cent to $31.16 billion

Exports in 2019-20 decline 4.78 %, imports fall 9.12%, trade deficit shrinks

India’s exports of goods in March 2020 declined 34.57 per cent to $21.41 billion (year-on-year) as the spread of Covid-19 across countries disrupted production and supply chains globally. This pulled down overall export figures for financial year 2019-20 by 4.78 per cent to $314.31 billion.

Imports in March 2020 were also severely hit falling 28.72 per cent to $31.16 billion while the trade deficit narrowed to $9.76 billion as against the deficit of $11 billion in March 2019. Overall trade deficit in 2019-20 was lower at $152.88 billion compared to the trade gap in 2018-19 at $184 billion as imports during the fiscal declined 9.12 per cent to $467.19 billion, as per figures released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry on Wednesday.

Exporters believe that the first quarter of 2020-21 will see a similar downward trend and nominal growth may start only from the second quarter depending on the conditions evolving in the international market.

“April would be worse (than March) as international trade, except in medicine and essential supplies, has come to a near halt. Exporters are facing a question of survival,” said Ravi Sehgal from Engineering Exports Promotion Council of India.

Fall in exports in March 2020 was spread across sectors, including all top performers, such as petroleum products, readymade garments, engineering goods, gems and jewellery, leather products, coal and other minerals, plastic and linoleum, carpets and handicrafts.

Eport of agricultural commodities such as oil meals, meat and poultry, dairy products, tea and other cereals also posted a steep decline during the month.

Sectors which posted a decline in imports in March 2020 include gold, petroleum products, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones (-53.46%), machinery, electronic goods and coal & coke.

India’s goods exports were sluggish even before the Covid-19 crisis broke out due to overall slowdown in the global economy and world trade. Exports in April-February 2019-20 period had declined 1.5 per cent to $292.91 billion although there was a marginal growth in February 2020. In 2018-19, exports touched a high of $330 billion.

Published on April 15, 2020

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