India’s goods exports recorded positive growth for the fifth consecutive month with shipments in January rising by 4.32% to $22.1 billion following good performance by major sectors such as engineering and petroleum as well as low base of 14.1% contraction in January 2016.
“We need to revisit the challenges faced by drugs and pharmaceuticals, gems and jewellery, carpets and plantations commodities so that they may also contribute to export growth in coming months,” said S.C. Ralhan, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).
The slowdown in global trade continues to impact India as well, he said adding India’s goods exports for 2016-17 would be about $270 billion. Increasing protectionism, volatility in currencies and uncertainties clouding over global economy pose major challenges for India’s exports in 2017.
Imports in January, meanwhile, increased by 10.7% – a five-month high – to $31.9 billion, data released on Wednesday by the Commerce Ministry showed. This resulted in trade deficit increasing to $9.8 billion, more than $7.6 billion seen in January 2016. Gold imports shrunk by about 30% to $2 billion in January. In December, imports of the yellow metal had contracted 50.1% to $1.8 billion after having risen in the previous two months.
Export growth in January was “in consonance with the revival exhibited by exports in the previous four months,” Commerce Ministry said. It said as per latest World Trade Organisation statistics, the growth in exports is positive for the U.S. (2.63%), the European Union (5.47%) and Japan (13.43%) but was negative for China (1.51%) for November 2016 over the corresponding period of previous year.
Non-petroleum exports in January rose 1.6% to $19.4 billion while petroleum exports increased by 29% to $2.7 billion. Oil imports in January surged 61% to $8 billion while non-oil imports were marginally up by 0.01% to $23.8 billion. Exports during April-January 2016-17 were also marginally higher by 1.09% to $221 billion while imports during the period shrunk 5.8% to $307.3 billion. Trade deficit in April-January 2016-17 also narrowed to $86 billion from $107.7 billion during the same period in the previous fiscal.