Exports grow 10.1% in Jan; difficult year ahead: Khullar

* Imports grow by over 20% to $40.1 billion during the month

Written by ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published:February 10, 2012 1:23 am

India’s exports surged over 10 per cent to $25.4 billion during January,higher than the 7 per cent rise clocked in the previous month. Imports,on the other hand,grew much faster by over 20 per cent to $40.1 billion during the month,mainly on account of surging value of vegetable oil,fertilisers and coal imports. As a consequence,the trade deficit — gap between exports and imports —climbed to a three-month high of $14.7 billion during January.

“The impact of Europe is clearly weighing down on the exports… What you are looking at now,is exports for the fiscal of around $300 billion,imports at about $460 billion with a balance of trade of about $160 billion,” commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said while releasing the provisional trade figures. During the April-January period,exports stood at $242.8 billion,up

24 per cent as compared to the same period last fiscal while imports were recorded at $391.5 billion,resulting in a huge trade deficit of $148.7 billion.

“Imports are still buoyant because of high prices of crude oil and vegetable oil…trade deficit is large but my guess is that it will narrow down in the next two months,” Khullar said. The secretary also expressed concern about the growth in the next fiscal,calling it a difficult year for exporters,given the uncertainty in Europe and the US.

“Consumers and investors confidence are also not booming. My fiscal room for manoeuvre has gone. You have a tight fiscal situation,who is going to give you sops. If you manage 20 per cent growth in 2012-13,it will be pretty good,” he said. He added that across the board,exports and imports have been decelerating. The sectors that performed well in exports during April-January period include engineering and petroleum,up by 21 per cent and 51.1 per cent to $49.7 billion and $48.9 billion,respectively.

Gems and jewellery exports increased by 33 per cent to $37 billion,readymade garments by 21.5 per cent,electronics by 13.4 per cent,drugs by 21.1 per cent,leather by 23.4 per cent and marine products by 31.6 per cent. On the other hand,imports of petroleum products increased by 38.8 per cent to $117.9 billion,gold and silver by 46.6 per cent to $50 billion,machinery 25.8 per cent,electronics 22.9 per cent,coal 69 per cent,iron and steel 12 per cent,ores and scraps 43.9 per cent.

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