The country’s exports contracted for the fifth straight month by around 14 per cent in April on the back of decline in global demand and softening of crude, metal and commodity prices, even as the government targets to double the export of both goods and services to $900 billion by 2020.
The exports in April stood at $22.05 billion compared to $25.63 billion during the same period in 2014-15.
Worried exporters said that decline in exports of rice, marine products, meat, dairy and poultry products, leather and products along with gems and jewellery, electronics and plastic goods are of significant concerns given the fact that domestic capabilities are being augmented in these sectors.
The country’s exports have been continuously declining since November, when it registered a growth of 7.27 per cent. Last month, exports had contracted by 21 per cent, the biggest fall in the last six years.
The export data may have a bearing on the GDP numbers scheduled to be released on May 29.
The imports on the other hand contracted by 7.50 per cent during the month at $33.04 billion as compared to $35.72 billion during the same period in 2014-15. The trade deficit narrowed to $10.99 billion due to declining oil imports, which shrank more than 42 per cent year-on-year to $7.44 billion.
SC Ralhan, president, Fieo, said, “The negative growth in exports is continuing since December 2014 though the decline has come down from 21 per cent in March to 14 per cent in April. Petroleum exports is still showing a decline of 46.5 per cent which itself is responsible for an overall decline of 9 per cent, as the sector used to contribute 20 per cent to the country’s exports… Our exports to countries dependent on oil, metal and commodities exports may have taken a hit as they reduced their appetite for imports with tighter capital control”.
The main exporting sectors, including petroleum products, gems and jewellery and man-made yarn and fabrics, reported negative growth in April.
Gold imports during the month surged 78.33 per cent to $3.13 billion as against $1.75 billion during the same period a year ago. During the month, non-oil imports grew by 12.58 per cent to $25.6 billion.