India’s exports jump 58pc to hit all-time high of $34bn

4 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

NEW DELHI: India’s merchandise exports witnessed a huge jump of 58 per cent year-on-year (YoY) and touched a record $34 billion in March, indicating a recovery in demand, preliminary data released by the government showed. Sequentially, the growth in merchandise exports was 21 per cent.

However, for the whole of financial year 2020-21 (FY21) exports contracted 7.4 per cent YoY to $290.18 billion because of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, report agencies.

“Make in India, Make for the World: Merchandise exports in March 2021 grew by 58 per cent YoY to $34 billion, the highest ever in Indian history. PM Narendra Modi ji’s trade policies have propelled Indian economy to historic new heights, even amidst the pandemic,” Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted.

Imports grew 52.89 per cent YoY in March to $48.12 billion, compared with $31.47 billion a year ago. For the whole of FY21, it contracted 18.07 per cent to $388.92 billion.

“India is, thus, a net importer in March, with a trade deficit of $14.11 billion, as compared to a trade deficit of $9.98 billion, an increase of 41.4 per cent,” said an official statement.

Ajai Sahai, director-general (DG) and chief executive officer (CEO), Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), said the turnaround in exports was remarkable, despite challenges because of a shortage of containers and hike in freight.

“Exports are generally much higher during March, which is generally the peak season. Unfortunately, last year (in March) exports fell due to the lockdown. The growth (this year) is impressive despite the logistics-related challenges. We can look forward to taking our exports to $340-350 billion in the next financial year. We should aim for double-digit growth next year,” Sahai told Business Standard.

He also cautioned that such a high level of exports may not be sustainable every month. “But even if we have $30 billion of exports every month, we can reach $350 billion easily,” he said.

The top five commodity exports in March were other cereals (323.65 per cent growth), oil meals (228.4 per cent), iron ore (194.98 per cent), jute manufacturing including floor covering (105.19 per cent), and carpets (89.86 per cent), data showed.

As far as inward shipments were concerned, there was a decline in items such as silver (contracted 90.22 per cent), newsprint (down 50.66 per cent), transport equipment (32.73 per cent), project goods (32.56 per cent), and pulses (13.88 per cent) in March.