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Exports Post Record 37.5% Growth in '10-11

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Exports registered the highest ever growth of 37.5 per cent at $245.9 billion during 2010-11, demonstrating a robust demand for Indian merchandises not just in the western economies but in new markets like Latin America as well.

Exports for March rose by a handsome 43.9 per cent to $29.1 billion compared to the growth in the same month in the previous financial year.

"This is the highest annual percentage growth (in a financial year)," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said after releasing the trade data.

The stellar performance in exports has been made possible despite uncertainty in several European economies which are marred by debt crisis.

Imports on the other hand grew at a lesser pace of 21.5 per cent despite increasing pressure on crude oil prices.

Imports for 2010-11 aggregated $350.3 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $104.4 billion.

Imports in March totalled $34.7 billion, up 17.3 per cent year-on-year.

The country's total merchandise trade has almost touched $600 billion -- half of India's gross domestic product of $1.2 trillion.

Sharma said while the government has not fixed any target for the current fiscal, "... we will continue to strive to increase it".

India aims to achieve merchandise exports of $450 billion 2013-14.

Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said imports figures may be revised upwards leading to a trade gap increasing to $110-115 billion.

The good show by exports has lessened worries on the current account deficit, which Khullar said, is likely to be at $25-35 billion.

Engineering goods grew 84.7 per cent to $60 billion led the show, followed by Petroleum products at $42.5 billion (up 50.5 per cent).

Gems and jewellery grew 15.4 per cent to to $33.5 billion, drugs and pharmaceuticals 15 per cent to $10.3 billion.

Khullar said while there has been an improvement in demand in the US an even in EU, "my hunch is that export growth (also) came from new markets, particularly from Latin America."

Since the export growth had bottomed out in 2009-10, expansion in the last fiscal looked good under the low base impact.

However, "even if this base effect was not there the export growth would have been around 30 per cent," Khullar said.

When asked if the growth rate is sustainable, he said it will be a "pipe-dream" given the global economic outlook.


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