Exports enter negative zone, dips 2.1% in September

PTI Delhi, India Oct 16, 2018, 10.34 AM(IST)

File Photo Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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The trade deficit, or the gap between imports and exports, narrowed to $13.98 billion in the last month as against $9.4 billion in September 2017.

India's exports entered the negative zone after five months, contracting 2.15 per cent in September to $27.95 billion due to dip in shipments in key sectors including engineering and gems and jewellery even though trade deficit narrowed to a five-month low.

Imports in September grew by 10.45 per cent to $41.9 billion, according to the commerce ministry data released Monday.

The trade deficit, or the gap between imports and exports, narrowed to $13.98 billion in the last month as against $9.4 billion in September 2017.

Besides engineering and gems and jewellery, shipments of tea, coffee, rice, cashew, leather, textiles, carpet and handicrafts also declined in September 2018.

Oil imports in September rose by 33.59 per cent to $10.91 billion. In April-September this fiscal, the imports increased by 50 per cent to $69.73 billion.

Similarly, non-oil imports in September grew by 4.11 per cent to $31.02 billion. It recorded a growth of 7.21 per cent to $188.63 billion during the first six months of this fiscal.

During April-September 2018-19, exports recorded a growth of 12.54 per cent to $164 billion. Imports during the period rose by 16.16 per cent to $258.36 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $94.32 billion in the first half of the current fiscal. 

Exports were on the rise since April, after declining by 0.66 per cent in March 2018. 

Commenting on the data, Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said that the decline is mainly on account of the base effect as exports showed an increase of 26 per cent in the year-ago month.

"This is a temporary kind of phenomena. In October, we will again see good growth in dollar terms," he told reporters here. 

He also expressed hope that the double-digit growth in the first sic months of the fiscal would continue. 

Exports grew in a healthy manner in the first six months of this fiscal even in the difficult circumstances, he said, adding the trend is expected to be maintained in the remaining half of the fiscal.

Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO) President Ganesh Gupta said that the negative growth in September is primarily due to high base effect last year.

The high growth witnessed in plastic and linoleum products, organic and inorganic chemicals, petroleum goods and pharma, are positive signs for future exports opined, Gupta said in a statement.

CII President Rakesh Bharti Mittal said that export growth in the first half-year of the current fiscal is encouraging as it comes within an increasingly challenging global environment.

Rupee which has an impact on the country's trade, Monday snapped its three-session gaining streak to end 26 paise lower at 73.83 against the US dollar. 

Gold imports in September grew by 51.5 per cent to $2.6 billion as against $1.7 billion in the same month last year.

Rating agency ICR said that the sharper depreciation of the rupee relative to some emerging market peers, is likely to positively impact exports in certain sectors, including apparels, in the second half of the fiscal. 

"Despite this, as well as the measures unveiled so far by the Government to curtail non-essential imports, we will not be surprised if the merchandise trade deficit rebounds above $17.5 billion in October," it added.