Like agriculture in 2010-11, exports came to the economy’s rescue in the first month of this financial year by expanding 34.4 per cent, while other segments are reporting moderation in growth.
Though exports grew at a lesser pace, compared to 36.2 per cent a year ago and 43.8 per cent in March 2011, the growth is certainly healthy, particularly when advanced economies are yet to come out of slowdown.
However, economists and export bodies do not see a healthy export growth trend for the whole year because of uncertainty over recovery in the US and Europe. India’s exports stood at $23,849 million, or Rs 105,819 crore, in April. In rupee terms, they grew 34 per cent year-on-year.
Imports grew at a lesser pace of 14.1 per cent to $32.8 billion in April, while the trade deficit narrowed to $8.9 billion from $11 billion a year ago.
While releasing initial figures, Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said the April export growth was led by engineering consignments that went up 109 per cent to $6.8 billion. Khullar said uncertainty in Europe and not-too encouraging data about the US economy remained areas of concern.
Export of petroleum products rose 53 per cent to $4.3 billion and gems and jewellery 39 per cent to $2.9 billion. Readymade garments recorded 12.7 per cent growth with consignments worth $1.1 billion. The rise in export was partly contributed by increase in prices, particularly of raw materials.
“Once the prices of raw materials stabilise, it may have an impact on India’s exports growth,” Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, said. Sahai pegged the export growth for 2011-12 at about 11 per cent to $275 billion.
D K Joshi, chief economist at Crisil, said if exports grew by 20 per cent for the whole financial year, it would be an achievement.