Goods exports rose for the twelfth consecutive month with shipments in July registering a 3.94% year-on-year growth to $22.5 billion. However, this was the slowest pace of growth since November 2016, when exports grew by 2.56%.
Data released on Monday by the commerce ministry showed that major commodity groups of export showing positive growth in the month included engineering goods (15.16%), petroleum products (20.27%), organic and inorganic chemicals (20.67%), cotton yarn/fabrics and made-ups and handloom products (5.39%) and marine products (30.53%). Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in July increased 6.93% to $22.5 billion. Meanwhile, goods imports in July recorded 15.42% to $33.99 billion — the slowest pace since 1.13% growth in January 2017.
This led to trade deficit (goods) narrowing on a month-on-month basis to $11.45 billion, the lowest since $10.5 billion recorded in the month of March 2017.
T.S. Bhasin, chairman of the country’s apex engineering exports body EEPC India, said, “growth in exports has certainly slowed, with rising value of rupee (against the U.S. dollar) adversely impacting the bottom line of exporters.
‘Rising rupee hurts’
“This is quite evident from the trade data that shows that while exports for July grew by 3.94%, in rupee terms the growth has turned negative.” In rupee terms, exports shrunk 0.32% in July to ₹1.45 lakh crore.
Mr. Bhasin added that, “while engineering exports have still been growing at a respectable pace, it is due to pick up in base metals. But, the rupee value is a cause of concern for exporters.”
Major commodity group of imports showing high growth in July were petroleum products (15.02%), electronic goods (22.5%), machinery, electrical and non-electrical (7.34%), pearls, precious and semi-precious stones (6.86%) and gold (95.05%).
Oil imports grew 15.02% in July to $7.84 billion, while non-oil imports rose 15.55% to $26.14 billion. The commerce ministry said global Brent prices rose 8.03% in July 2017 vis-à- vis July 2016 as per World Bank commodity price data.
Exports during April-July 2017-18 increased by 8.91% over the corresponding period in the previous year to $94.75 billion, while imports during the same period grew 28.3% to $146.25 billion. Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports during this fiscal so far jumped 9.05% to $94.75 billion. Oil imports during April-July, 2017-18 saw a 20.87% jump to $31.02 billion. Non-oil imports during the FY’18 increased 30.46% to $115.23 billion.