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

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!

Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.