Merchandise exports for March declined 3.15 per cent, second month in a row, to $29.58 billion, as the country missed its exports target for FY14 due to sluggish demand from non-traditional markets including China and Latin America and exchange volatility.
According to the data released by the commerce ministry, exports for the whole year rose just 3.98 per cent to $312.35 billion against the export target of $325 billion.
Imports, on the other hand, fell 2.11 per cent to $40.09 billion, narrowing the March trade deficit to $10.05 billion. For the entire fiscal, the imports shrank 8.11 per cent to stand at $450.95 billion, reducing the trade deficit to $138.6 billion in the last fiscal from $190.3 billion.
Decline in gold and silver imports also helped in reducing the trade deficit. Import of gold and silver declined 40 per cent to $33.46 billion.
Exporters’ body Fieo said that the factors responsible for the decline were both domestic and global. Factors like exchange rate volatility, steep hike in global oil prices along with the regulatory problems in India’s drug industry in the developed economies have also contributed to the decline of exports. As the rupee strengthens, exporters are also
wary that exports may see further decline in the months to come.
“The economic conditions in the US and the euro zone are not very favorable for exports and we hope the Indian government will help the exporters by providing help by way of including more products and countries for Focus Product Scheme and Focus market Scheme, where we have a comparative advantage and this should be addressed on a priority basis as it will give the necessary push to the industry,” Sanjay Budhia, chairman, CII, national committee on export, said.
During the month, oil imports increased 17.7 per cent to $15.78 billion.