Exports recovered marginally to $312.35 billion in 2013-14, but remained below the UPA Government’s target of $325 billion. Official data released on Friday show that exports grew 3.98 per cent over the previous year while imports shrunk 8.11 per cent to $450.94 billion. In 2012-13, India’s exports were just above $300 billion.
The trade deficit, as a result, narrowed to $138.59 billion from $190.33 billion in 2012-13.
The month-on-month trend continued to show weak exports momentum with shipments contracting 3.15 per cent to $29.57 billion in March 2014. Imports too fell 2.11 per cent to $40 billion as compared to March 2013.
The trade deficit during the month was $10.5 billion against $10.4 billion in March 2013.
Oil imports in March increased 17.7 per cent to $15.78 billion. In 2013-14, oil imports grew 2.2 per cent to $167.62 billion.
A drop in gold and silver imports helped to shrink the trade gap.
The gap in the last financial year was the lowest since $104.4 billion in 2010-11. In March, exports contracted to $29.57 billion and imports fell 2.11 per cent to $40 billion from a year earlier.
The Confederation of Indian Industry said China also witnessed a slump in exports and this could be an indicator of a looming slowdown in global demand.
Commenting on the trade dataM. Rafeeque Ahmed, President, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), said that the contraction in exports in February and March was disappointing. “With total exports of $312 billion, we are short of $13 billion from the target of $325 billion fixed for 2013-14,’’ he added..
Admitting that the target of $325 billion was a modest one requiring about 8 per cent growth, Mr. Ahmed said the double-digit growth in exports between July and October, 2013 gave hope that the country might easily cross the target. However, slowdown in manufacturing, liquidity crunch, currency appreciation coupled with depreciating currency of few of our trading partners, softening of metal, and commodity prices and uncertainty in few regions of the world were the prime reasons for the slowdown, observed FIEO Chief.