India’s exports grow 93pc in April

17 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

NEW DELHI: India’s overall exports — merchandise and services — are estimated to have grown 93.21 per cent to $51.79 billion in April on a low year-on-year (YoY) base, according to the latest data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry on Friday.

Merchandise exports nearly tripled in April to $30.63 billion compared to the same period last year. The growth was on account of a low base of last year as the country went into a lockdown, but was also supported by demand from external markets, report agencies.

Services exports are estimated to have grown 28.68 per cent YoY to $21.17 billion in April. The estimated value is $13 billion, up 39.75 per cent YoY.

While the Reserve Bank of India has released services sector data for March, April’s data is an estimation and will be revised based on the central bank’s subsequent release, an official statement said. Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said despite the second wave of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns by various states, export prospects remain health.

“Some balance has been achieved (this time). States have taken necessary public health measures and allowed essential activities to happen. At this stage I don’t foresee any major impact on export prospects,” Wadhawan told reporters.

“On the whole, very good performance for goods and services, despite April 2020 being somewhat anomalous (due to the national lockdown).”

At $45.72 billion, an import growth of 167.05 per cent over April 2020 and 7.87 per cent over the corresponding month in 2019 highlights that an economic recovery is underway.

Merchandise trade deficit was $15.10 billion compared to $6.92 billion in April 2020 and $16.30 billion in April 2019.

“Setting aside the massive growth over the lockdown base of April 2020, the robust growth in exports in April 2021 relative to April 2019 is heartening, even as its sustenance remains to be seen. The high merchandise imports in absolute terms in April 2021 reflect a combination of high commodity prices, resolute domestic demand and inventory building in light of the localised restrictions,” said Aditi Nayar, chief economist, ICRA Ratings.

Engineering and Export Promotion Council of India (EEPC) Chairman Mahesh Desai said shipments to China have already been quite healthy and expects the trend to continue.

“As vaccine coverage rises in Europe and North America, we see a further increase in demand,” he said.

Given the growth trends in previous fiscal year and April this year, it is widely expected that merchandise exports could touch $400 billion in 2021-22.

The value of exports in the first week of May was up by almost 9 per cent over the same period last year, pointing to a positive trend, Desai added.

Wadhawan said the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) has met wide acceptance from various countries, including the US.