NEW DELHI: Despite single-digit growth, India’s exports hit a new high of $331 billion in the last financial year, but higher imports pushed up the trade deficit. In March, as 20 of the 30 major product segments saw higher shipments, exports expanded 11% to reach $32.5 billion, the highest in a month in recent years. In fact, the growth in March was the fastest increase in five months, helping the government scale a new peak during the fifth year of its term.

Not surprisingly, the government was patting itself on the back for the “revival” in exports. “Through secular growth over the last three financial years, following major downturn in the face of global slowdown, merchandise exports for 2018-19 are estimated at $331 billion, the highest ever, surpassing the earlier peak of $314.4 billion achieved in 2013-14. This has been achieved in a challenging global environment,” the commerce ministry said in a statement.

Export

Exports are seen as a weak link in the economic growth story, with both BJP and the Congress pledging to focus on reviving exports. “I am sure the new government will renew its focus on this sector and address the concerns of Indian export industry. Exports further need to focus on new products like food commodity and break free from traditional items so that the growth is more resilient and sustainable. Also, it will cushion our exports from global volatility and shocks in the long run,” said Mohit Singla, president of Trade Promotion Council of India, an industry lobby group.

While exporters pointed to several policy-related difficulties — from credit flow to GST refunds — they seemed to be rejoicing for the moment. “Economies across Asia, especially China and Southeast Asian nations, have been showing signs of sluggishness with contraction in manufacturing due to slowdown in global trade and fragile world economy, but almost all our value-added product segments of exports have shown impressive growth,” said FIEO president Ganesh Kumar Gupta.



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