Special Correspondent

Total exports cross $66 b in 9 months

NEW DELHI: Exports regained momentum in December last year, after a dip in the previous month, ensuring that the growth rate remains buoyant at 18.03 per cent for the first nine months of the current fiscal. Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said, "I am bullish on exports'' in a statement commenting on the pick up in exports.

The growth rate in exports in December is estimated at 16.19 per cent, a substantial increase over the negative growth of 11.38 per cent in the previous month. According to trade data released here on Monday by the Commerce and Industry Ministry, imports continue to be rising more rapidly with a growth rate of 27.25 per cent for the April-December period. In December alone, however, imports appear to have moderated at 8.44 per cent. As a result, the trade gap for the nine months is $29.8 billion. This is $10 billion higher than the trade deficit of $19.3 billion at the same time last year.

Oil imports continue to grow at a much faster pace than non-oil imports. Data show that oil imports during April-December 2005 are 45.43 per cent higher than last year. The total value of such imports is estimated at $31.1 billion compared to $21.4 billion in the corresponding period last year. Non-oil imports, on the other hand, are estimated at $65.1 billion, which is 20.1 per cent higher than the previous year when these were pegged at $54.2 billion.

Total exports in the first nine months of 2005-06 have crossed $66 billion. Exports in December alone are estimated at $8.2 billion. Total imports are estimated at $96.2 billion while imports in December are pegged at $10.9 billion.