India’s September mercantile exports post positive growth despite global headwinds

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NEW DELHI: India’s mercantile exports in September grew by 4.82% at $35.45 billion compared to $33.81 billion in the same month last year notwithstanding the slump in global demands, even as its imports saw 8.66% year-on-year growth at $61.16 billion mainly on inputs, signifying domestic value addition.

While higher imports left $25.71 billion trade deficit in the month of September this year, a jump of over 14%, it has been significantly balanced out due to increased services exports, according to the data released by the commerce ministry on Friday.

Services exports grew 18.72% in September at $25.65 billion compared to $21.61 billion in the same month a year ago. Import of services was, however, up 20% at $15.10 billion in September 2022 compared to $12.58 billion in September 2021. The $10.56 billion surplus in services trade helped in reducing the overall trade deficit.

India’s overall exports (merchandise and services combined) in September 2022 are estimated to be $61.10 billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 10.24% over the same period last year. Overall imports in September 2022 are estimated to be $76.26 billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 10.73% over the same period last year, the official statement said.

It explained that the latest data for the services sector released by the Reserve Bank of India is for August 2022 and the data for September 2022 is an estimation, which would be revised based on RBI’s subsequent release. “Data for April-September2021 and April-June 2022 has been revised on a pro-rata basis using quarterly balance of payments data,” it added.

Experts said India’s economic performance is better than many major economies as there has been a decline in the value of petroleum and gold imports while there is growth in imports of raw materials, signifying value addition.

According to the data, imports of petroleum crude and products fell by 5.38% to $15.9 billion and gold imports plunged 24.62% to $3.9 billion in September 2022 vis-a-vis September 2021. On the other hand, inbound shipments of coal, coke and briquettes jumped by 60.82% to $3.5 billion in September 2022.

Ajay Sahai, director general and chief executive of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said, “Despite the modest growth, the exports of the country are in positive territory while many competing countries are showing a deep decline.”

He said exports of some items fell because of the government’s conscious policy to tame inflation.

Exports of iron ore in September declined by about 97% at $2.72 million because the government raised duty on these items in May this year to keep input costs low for Indian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“The restrictions on exports including the imposition of exports duty on many products, to maintain domestic price stability both for food and industrial goods, has also marginal share in pulling down exports,” Sahai said.

According to the data, exports of several key sectors like engineering, ready-made garments, plastic, cashew and carpets recorded negative growth in September 2022. But, exports of gems and jewellery, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, leather and rice saw positive growth.

FIEO president A Sakthivel said goods exports in September further consolidate on the back of 17 major product export categories including petroleum products, electronic goods, gems and jewellery, drugs and pharmaceuticals, organic and inorganic chemicals, and agri products showing progressive growth trend.

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