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BW Businessworld

Exports Dip 9% In Nov; Trade Deficit Narrows To $9.96 Billion: Govt data

Imports also slipped 13.33 per cent to $33.39 billion in the month under review.

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India's exports fell 9 per cent to USD 23.43 billion in November due to a drop in shipments of segments such as petroleum products, engineering and chemicals, even as the trade deficit narrowed to USD 9.96 billion during the month, according to official data released on Wednesday.

Imports also slipped 13.33 per cent to USD 33.39 billion in the month under review.

In November, oil imports dipped 43.34 per cent to USD 6.27 billion. It was down by 48.7 per cent to USD 44.10 billion during April-November 2020, the data showed.

Exports during April-November 2020 were USD 173.49 billion, compared with USD 211.17 billion during the corresponding period a year ago, exhibiting a negative growth of 17.84 per cent.

Merchandise imports during the eight month period of 2020-21 declined by 33.56 per cent to USD 215.67 billion.

'India was thus a net importer in November 2020, with a trade deficit of USD 9.96 billion, as compared to a trade deficit of USD 12.75 billion,' it said.

Non-oil imports in November were estimated at USD 27.12 billion, showing a decline of 1.22 per cent over the same month last year. During April-November, it was down by 28 per cent to USD 171.57 billion.

Major commodities of export that have recorded negative growth during November are petroleum products (61.05 per cent), leather (29.80 per cent), cashew (24.90 per cent), plastic and linoleum (23.34 per cent) and marine products (16.11 per cent).

Engineering goods (8.27 per cent), organic and inorganic chemicals (8.09 per cent), coffee (1.27 per cent), and RMG of all textiles (1.20 per cent) are the other commodities that saw negative growth.

Products that recorded positive growth during November include oil meals (70.54 per cent), iron ore (68.15 per cent), rice (24.41 per cent), carpet (15.58 per cent), spices (12.12per cent) and pharmaceuticals (11.13 per cent).

Tobacco (8.64 per cent), fruits and vegetables (5.33 per cent), tea (5.02 per cent), and gems and jewellery (4.11 per cent) are the other commodities that saw positive growth.

The country's exports are in negative zone since March due to slowdown in demand on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, it turned positive in September. Exports in October again dipped by 5.4 per cent. Imports have also been contracting since March.

The preliminary data showed that import sectors that reported negative growth in November include silver (89.71 per cent), cotton raw and waste (74.09 per cent), newsprint (69.96 per cent), machine tools (26.55 per cent), transport equipment (19.62 per cent), and chemicals (3.23 per cent).

However, certain sectors reported positive growth and that include vegetable oil (34.02 per cent), fertilisers, crude and manufactured (29.25 per cent), pulses (18.16 per cent), electronic goods (12.25 per cent), and Gold (2.65 per cent).

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the ministry said that during the Board of Trade meeting, presentations were made about overview of the export and import performance. Investment promotion strategy for the Aatmanirbhar Bharat, trade remedies and initiatives taken by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade were also discussed.

Ministers from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab and Tamil Nadu made interventions in the meeting. They gave their state-specific suggestions and also expressed their support to the central government initiatives in promoting the external trade, it said.

The meeting was attended by various state ministers, secretaries and other senior officials of key line ministries and state, all major trade and industry bodies, export promotion councils, and industry associations.

Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri said trade with the neighbouring countries is a priority, and the Land Ports Authority of India is in the process of upgrading 64 land custom stations.

On the issue of connectivity, Puri said domestic air traffic has almost reached the pre-COVID-19 levels.

He added that the issue of cargo movement and logistics is being looked at in a comprehensive manner, and soon, the Krishi Udaan Scheme will be launched.

On free-trade agreements (FTAs), Puri said, 'we are in the process of reviewing our existing FTAs, and comprehensive view will be taken about the future FTAs.'

(PTI)


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