Pick-up in demand in traditional markets

Raising hopes of India surpassing the $200 billion export target and possibly touching $220 billion, exports rose by 32.5 per cent to $20.6 billion in January on an annual basis driven by pick-up in demand from traditional markets of the U.S. and Latin America.

In December 2010, shipments grew by 36.4 per cent to $22.5 billion on an annual basis, the highest in 33 months.

During April-December period of 2010-11, outbound shipments grew by 29.4 per cent to $184.6 billion over the year-ago period.

“It is a huge jump. Export performance is pretty good. My guess is that by next month, we will cross $200 billion and we should end up at $220-225 billion,” Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters here on Saturday.

As per the primary estimates, imports during the month grew by 13.1 per cent to $28.6 billion over the same period last year, resulting in a trade deficit of $8 billion. The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said the rise in exports was mainly due to tapping of new markets in Africa and Latin America along with the U.S. and Asian markets. “Exports are increasing because of market diversification. Asia itself has emerged as a big export destination,” FIEO President Ramu Deora said.

The continued recovery in major Western advanced economies which had weakened during the second quarter of 2010, have regained strength in the following quarter.

According to official estimates, the sectors that performed well during April-January 2010-11 include gems and jewellery (9.3 per cent), engineering (70 per cent) and petroleum and oil lubricants (36 per cent).

During April-January 2010-11, imports grew by 17.6 per cent to $273.6 billion. The import numbers are just estimates and would be revised later. Officially, the trade numbers for January would be released by the government on March 1.

Exporters are getting huge demands for engineering products from Latin American countries such as Columbia. The trade deficit during the first 10 months of the fiscal stood at $89 billion. “I think the trade gap should end up at $105-110 billion,” Mr. Khullar added.

The government had set an export target of $200 billion for 2010-11.

More In: Economy | Business