The country’s exports grew marginally by 3.74 per cent in January due to subdued performance of key sectors including engineering, leather, and gems & jewellery, even as the trade deficit at $14.73 billion widened as compared to December 2018 when it stood at USD 13 billion. However, the deficit has lowered when compared to USD 15.67 billion in January 2018.
According to data from the commerce ministry, exports during the month increased to USD 26.36 billion, compared with USD 25.41 billion in January 2018. Exports growth remained almost flat in November and December 2018.
In January, engineering exports grew by only one per cent, while leather, and gems & jewellery recorded a growth of 0.33 per cent and 6.67 per cent, respectively. Petroleum exports contracted by 19 per cent. Imports also remained almost flat at USD 41 billion during the last month.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said the nominal growth in exports is due to tough global condition and some constraints on the domestic front. “Global trade growth is slowing down and global economies, including China and South East Asian nations, are also facing contraction in manufacturing worsening the fragile global situation,” he sad. He demanded immediate support including augmenting the flow of credit, higher tax deduction for research and development and better fiscal support for boosting exports.
Gold imports also grew 38.16 per cent to USD 2.31 billion in January this year as against USD 1.67 billion in the corresponding month of 2018. During the April-January period of the current financial year, exports grew 9.52 per cent to USD 271.8 billion. Imports rose by 11.27 per cent to USD 427.73 billion. The trade deficit widened to USD 155.93 billion during the 10 months of the current fiscal from USD 136.25 billion in April-January 2017-18.