After a gap of 13 months, exports turned positive in November 2009, registering 18.2 per cent growth at $13.19 billion against $11.16 billion in November 2008-09. However, the overall performance in the current fiscal is still to improve as exports between April-November 2009-10 dropped by 22.3 per cent to $104.24 billion from $134.20 billion in the year ago period.
Imports, meanwhile, remained in the negative zone declining by 2.6 per cent to $22.88 billion in November 2009, resulting in lower trade gap of $9.69 billion during the month against $12.32 billion in November 2008.
Similarly, imports during April-November 2009-10 stood at $50.18 billion, 34.4 per cent lower than $76.52 billion in the year ago period.
The overall trade deficit during the current fiscal so far was estimated at $66.18 billion, which was lower than the deficit of $100.15 billion during April-November, 2008.
Commenting on the trade data, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said the November data indicated the adaptability of exporters to the changing global economy and the positive impact of the stimulus extended by the government.
FIEO President A. Sakthivel hoped that the Centre would continue with the stimulus packages announced for industry, particularly the interest subsidy for exports. As per FIEO estimates, exports in 2009-10 are expected remain in the range of $165–170 billion.
“Exporters need to keep their competitiveness in terms of quality and prices and focus on market and product diversification,” R. M. Joshi of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade said.
Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations Director Rajiv Kumar said the government stimulus should continue and exporters needed to be cautious about the exchange rate volatility. Meanwhile, oil imports also turned positive after 13 months and increased by 7.3 per cent to $6.38 billion in November compared to $5.95 billion a year ago. Imports during April-November were $50.18 billion, 34.4 per cent lower than $76.52 billion in the year ago period. Non-oil imports contracted by 5.9 per cent to $16.5 billion from $17.5 billion in November 2008-09.
As per the data, non-oil imports were 23.8 per cent lower at $120.2 billion in April-November 2009-10 than the $157.8 billion in the comparable figure last year.