India’s exports grew by a meagre 3.2 per cent year-on-year to $24.4 billion in April 2012, but are likely to gain momentum in the medium to long term on account of depreciating rupee.

Sharp deceleration in imports during the month resulted in trade deficit narrowing to $13.2 billion, the lowest in the last seven months. Imports during the first month of the current fiscal grew 3.8 per cent to $37.9 billion.

The drop in the balance of trade (BoT) deficit should reduce pressure on the rupee which has lost value by about 15 per cent against the U.S. dollar since September, 2011. It was ruling at Rs. 55.85 on Friday morning.

“The depreciation of rupee prima facie would help exporters in terms of higher realisation in terms of rupee...verall in the long term it would help the exporters,” Finance Secretary R. S. Gujral said.

Although the exporters’ community said that the rupee depreciation would help in the long term, buyers are pressuring for discounts.

“Buyers are asking for more and more discounts,” Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Rafeeq Ahmed said.

Mr. Ahmed also said that the rupee weakening would make imports expensive but would have a favourable impact in trade deficit.

In 2011-12, the country’s trade deficit jumped to $185 billion, the highest ever in history.

While the pace of export expansion dropped, the silver lining is that there was acceleration in the net value as opposed to deceleration in March when the shipments contracted by 5.7 per cent.

Commenting on the export growth for 2012-13, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said, “I hope we will be able to achieve at least 20 per cent growth.”

In 2011-12, the country’s exports grew by 21 per cent to $303.7 billion.

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