Sluggish global economic growth and demand specially in major economies like EU, UK and China dragged down India’s exports by 2.5 per cent in September to USD 34.5 billion and imports dipped at USD 53.84 billion, as compared to USD 63.37 billion in September 2022, bringing down the trade deficit to USD 19.3 billion. Merchandise exports during April-September 2022 were USD 211.40 billion as against USD 231.73 billion while merchandise imports for the same period slipped to USD 326.98 billion as against USD 372.56 billion during April-September 2022, bringing down merchandise trade deficit for the first six months of the fiscal to USD 115.58 billion as against USD 140.83 billion during April-September 2022, shows official data of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has flagged a continued contraction in merchandise exports and core imports. In his latest monetary policy statement, Das highlighted bottoming of merchandise export growth, although accompanied by higher imports. President, FIEO A Sakthivel views the subdued growth in economies like US and Australia as additional factors for such declining trends in exports, though the downward movement is largely arrested. “Manufacturing across the Euro Zone and the US have also contracted due to persistent policy tightening measures,” notes Sakthivel. However, with both US Fed and UK Central Bank pausing the interest rates, he expects demand to rebound from October onwards. “Further with the economic outlook for Asia and the Pacific remaining upbeat and the region’s developing economies expected to grow 4.7 per cent in 2023 and 4.8 per cent in 2024, which may lead to demand picking up from these regions and countries also,” adds the FIEO chief.
India’s overall exports (merchandise and services combined) in September 2023 at USD 63.84 billion, posted negative growth of 1.20 per cent over September 2022 and so did overall imports at USD 68.75 billion, a degrowth of 13.67 per cent over September 2022. For April-September 2023, overall exports tanked with negative growth of 2.97 per cent over April-September 2022 while overall imports is estimated to exhibit a negative growth of as much as 10.14 per cent over April-September 2022. Overall trade deficit for April-September 2023 is estimated at USD 39.91 billion as compared to the deficit of USD 75.34 billion during April-September 2022, registering a decline of 47.03 per cent.
Sectorally, the export performance of many stood out.
Continuing a promising trajectory, electronic goods exports registered a growth of 27.6 per cent at USD 13.11 billion during April-September 2023 as compared to USD 10.27 billion in April-September 2022. Ceramic products and glassware exports grow by 50.5 per cent from USD 0.24 billion in September 2022 to USD 0.36 billion in September 2023. The other strong show was in iron ore export which recorded growth of 128 per cent during April-September 2023 at USD 1.5 billion from USD 0.66 billion in April-September 2022
Exports of many industries dragged in September, with non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports registering a miniscule increase by 1.86 per cent from USD 24.33 billion in September 2022 to USD 24.78 billion in September 2023. Engineering goods exports recorded a slight improvement with growth of 6.8 per cent from USD 8.34 billion in September 2022 to USD 8.91 billion in September 2023. Drugs and pharma exports also continued to grow at 9.0 per cent in September 2023 at USD 2.39 billion from USD 2.19 billion in September 2022. Export of marine products saw a bare increase of 4.7 per cent to USD 0.75 billion in September 2023 as compared to USD 0.72 billion in September 2022. per cent.