Exports fell for the third consecutive month in February, declining by 15.02 per cent, the steepest during the current financial year, even as the trade deficit narrowed to a 17-month low of $6.8 billion on declining oil imports.
According to the data released by the ministry of commerce and industry, the merchandise exports were $21.54 billion during the month compared to $25.35 billion during the same period a year ago, due to contracting global demand and softening of metal and commodities’ prices.
M Rafeeque Ahmed, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (Fieo), said that the most worrying aspect of the February decline is the fact that it is on a low base as exports had declined in February 2014 as well.
Looking at the volatility in currency and sharp appreciation of rupee against euro, exports to euro zone may suffer further which will hit the traditional sectors of exports for which Europe is still the most important market, at times accounting for over 50 per cent of their exports.
Indian exporters are losing out particularly to China which has fixed exchange rate against Euro and other currencies,” he said.
The data shows that during the month, imports also declined 15.66 per cent to $28.39 billion as against $33.66 billion during the corresponding period a year ago. Cumulative value of exports during April-February 2014-15 was $286.58 billion, as against $284.07 billion, up 0.88 per cent over the corresponding period last year.
Services exports rise to $4.3 bn in Jan
India’s services exports edged up by 2.3 per cent to $14.3 billion in January 2015 over the same month a year ago. Services exports during January 2014 stood at $13.93 billion, according to RBI data released on Friday.
Import of services during the month increased by 7.2 per cent to $7.79 billion as against $6.27 billion a year earlier. (PTI)