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BW Businessworld

June Exports Zoom, May Slowdown From Q3

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India's exports went up by 46.45 per cent to $29.21 billion in June, 2011, but the impressive growth rate may not be sustained into the second half of the fiscal in view of uncertainty in the US and Europe.

Merchandise exports aggregated to USD 19.94 billion in June, 2010.

Helped by an impressive rise in June, exports grew by a hefty 45.7 per cent to $79 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal, according to Commerce Ministry data released on Monday.

Though most of the sectors posted robust expansion -- be it petroleum products, readymade garments, engineering or pharmaceuticals -- Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar has cautioned that news from the largest two markets -- the US and Europe -- "is far from cheerful... Summer is not over. It is still not going to be easy".

The US and Europe together account for about 35 per cent of the country's exports, which stood at $246 billion in 2010-11.

"Export growth is going to continue for another three months till September. The growth trend will not be as good in the third and fourth quarters and will get restricted to around 35-40 per cent," Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Ramu Deora said.

Deora also expressed concern over high inflation and interest rates.

The government is looking 25 per cent growth annually so that exports touch USD 500 billion in 2013-14.

Though imports grew by 42.4 per cent to USD 36.8 billion in June, the trade deficit of USD 7.6 billion was almost half the level of $14.9 billion seen in May, lessening concerns over the country's balance of payments situation.

In April-June, 2011-12, inbound shipments rose by 36.2 per cent to $110.6 billion, led by the import of $30.5 billion worth of petroleum products. The trade gap during the period stood at $31.6 billion.

Oil and non-oil imports increased by 30 per cent and 47.8 per cent, respectively, during the month under review to $10.18 billion and $26.6 billion.

During the first quarter, oil imports grew by 18.1 per cent to $30.52 billion from $25.84 billion. Non-oil imports, too, increased by 44.68 per cent to $80 billion from $55.35 billion in April-June, 2010-11.

During the first quarter of this fiscal, the sectors which registered healthy export growth include engineering (94 per cent), petroleum products (60 per cent), gems and jewellery (19 per cent), readymade garments (34 per cent), electronics (69 per cent) and chemicals (52 per cent).

During April-June 2011-12, petroleum imports grew by 18 per cent to USD 30.5 billion, while imports of machinery rose by 49 per cent, electronics by 71 per cent, chemicals by 19 per cent, coal by 27 per cent and vegetable oil by 55 per cent.

In May, the country's exports grew by 56.9 per cent year-on-year to USD 25.9 billion.

Deora said withdrawal of Duty Entitlement Pass Book scheme (DEPB) from October 1 would also impact exports.

"The recent hike in interest rates from 11 per cent to 11.25 per cent by SBI would make export finance costlier and Indian goods would become non-competitive in the international market," he said, adding other banks would also follow suit and hike interest rates.