India’s merchandise exports contracted for the sixth month in a row, dropping 1.66 per cent to $25.97 billion in January from $26.41 billion the same month last year, as 18 of the 30 major export commodities showed a dip in shipments.
The decline is mainly due to a drop in shipments of gems and jewellery, engineering goods, readymade garments of all textiles, rice and leather products.
Imports in January also dropped 0.75 per cent to $41.14 billion from $41.46 billion. However, the country’s trade deficit widened to $15.17 billion from $15.05 billion last year, according to data released by the Commerce Ministry on Friday.
Engineering good shipments dropped 4.04 per cent to $6.24 billion from $6.51 billion in January 2019. Gems and jewellery exports contracted 11.58 per cent to $2.88 billion from $3.26 billion in the same period last year.
Shipments of readymade garments dropped 4.98 per cent to $1.45 billion from $1.53 billion, rice exports dropped over 18 per cent to around $598 million, while leather shipments dropped 7.74 per cent to around $407 million in January 2020.
At the same time, exports of goods like petroleum products, organic chemicals, electronic goods, cotton and man-made yarn and drugs and pharmaceuticals increased in January from the same month last year.
Exports of major commodities like drugs and pharmaceuticals grew 12.37 per cent, while electronic good shipments increased 32.81 per cent.
Besides protectionism and liquidity concerns, the sudden spread of the novel coronavirus in China has “further worsened the global sentiment and exporters are delaying their shipments,” said Federation of Indian Export Organisations president Sharad Kumar Saraf.
“Indian exports is also passing through very tough and challenging times as the currency volatility besides fluctuations in commodities prices including that of crude have also led to the nominal increase in exports of petroleum, which is a major constituent of India’s exports,” he said.
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