India’s merchandise exports grew 3.74 per cent to $26.36 billion in January from the same period last year as exports of gems and jewellery, chemicals and pharmaceuticals increased, coupled with nearly flat level of imports helping in narrowing the country’s trade deficit, data released by the Commerce Ministry Friday showed. Exports in January stood at $26.36 billion as against $25.41 billion in January 2018, while imports grew 0.01 per cent to $41.09 billion from $41.08 billion in the same period last year.
Trade deficit for January 2019 was at $14.73 billion, down from $15.67 billion a year ago.
However, taking merchandise and services together, the country’s overall trade deficit for the April-January period of the current financial year has widened to $90.58 billion as compared with $75.73 billion during the same period last financial year. Exports in gems and jewellery grew 6.67 per cent to $3.25 billion in January from $3.04 billion for this period last year, while exports in organic and inorganic chemicals grew 15.56 per cent to $1.86 billion from $1.61 billion, the data showed.
Drugs and pharmaceuticals exports grew 15.20 per cent to $1.59 billion in January from $1.38 billion last year, while exports of electronic goods jumped 67.05 per cent to $771.30 million from $461.72 million.
At the same time, exports in engineering goods grew to $6.51 billion from $6.44 billion — an increase of 1.07 per cent.
Gold imports grew 38.16 per cent to $2.31 billion in January from $1.67 billion, while silver imports more than doubled to $357.67 million from $175.02 million during this period last year. The country also witnessed a 17.57 per cent increase in iron and steel imports, which grew to $1.52 billion from $1.29 billion a year ago.
Import of petroleum and crude decreased 3.59 per cent to $11.24 billion in January 2019 from $11.66 billion in January 2018, while imports of pearls, precious and semi-precious stones also dropped 36.51 per cent to $1.56 billion in January from $2.45 billion last year. “Non-oil and non-gold imports were $27.53 billion in January 2019, recording a negative growth of 0.78 per cent as compared to January 2018,” the ministry’s release said.
Overall merchandise and services exports for April-January period of this financial year is estimated to have grown 9.07 per cent to $439.98 billion from the same period in the 2017-18 financial year. Overall imports in April-January this financial year have grown 10.74 per cent to $530.55 billion over April-January 2017-18.
Meanwhile, exporters and industry on Friday raised several concerns including dip in bank lending, delay in refund of input tax credit and withdrawal of GSP benefits by the US, during a meeting of the Board of Trade, chaired by Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu. “The representatives of industry expressed concerns about decreasing flow of credit to export sector, retrospective effect of pre-import conditions, delays in refund of ITC, withdrawal of GSP benefits by US, exports to Iran and availability of incentives for exports to neighbouring countries,” the ministry said.