India’s merchandise exports declined 3.77 per cent in December while imports contracted 4.78 per cent during the month, narrowing the trade deficit by 44 per cent to a 10-month low of $9.46 billion, amid sharp reduction in crude oil prices and moderating global demand.
Trade data from the commerce and industry ministry said, exports stood at $ 25.39 billion, while for the April-December period, the outbound shipment was $241.15 billion, up 4.02 per cent. Exports had risen by 7.27 per cent in November after declining 5.04 per cent in October.
M Rafeeque Ahmed, president, Federation of Indian Export Organistions (Fieo), said that the global slowdown in demand, especially from the European market, Russia and Opec nations, has hit Indian exports hard. “Russia got hit due to sanctions and falling oil prices. The Opec countries are also reeling under the falling oil prices. Except for the US and Asean, all other countries have shown moderation. Also, due to the withdrawal of interest subvention and high cost of manufacturing, our exports have become uncompetitive globally,” Ahmed said.
He added that the export target of $350 billion for FY15 is unlikely to be met with just three months left in FY15.
During December, export of petroleum products was down by 21.17 per cent to $3.84 billion, electronic goods contracted by 14.22 per cent, gems and jewellery contracted by 1.12, tea export declined by 27.09 per cent, other cereals by 57.42, fruits and vegetables by 23.64, while iron ore export was down by a staggering 56.85 per cent. The only sector which performed well was engineering goods, which grew 20.49 per cent to $6.91 billion.
Imports during the month stood at $34.83 billion while cumulative imports during the April-December period stood at $35.12, a growth of 3.63 per cent. While oil imports during the month declined 28.6 per cent to $9.94 billion, during the April-December period, oil imports stood at $ 116.49 billion, down 4.7 per cent during the same period last year.