NEW DELHI, March 15 (PTI): Contracting for the third month in a row, India’s exports declined by 8.8 per cent to USD 33.88 billion in February due to slowdown in global demand, even as the trade deficit touched about a year low of USD 17.43 billion during the month, according to official data released on Wednesday.
Imports also declined by 8.21 per cent to USD 51.31 billion as against USD 55.9 billion recorded in the corresponding month last year.
Cumulatively, however during April-February this fiscal, the country’s overall merchandise exports rose by 7.5 per cent to USD 405.94 billion. Imports during the period increased by 18.82 per cent to USD 653.47 billion.
The merchandise trade deficit for the April-February this fiscal stood at about USD 247.53 billion.
The country’s exports had contracted by 6.58 per cent to USD 32.91 billion in December 2022. In February 2022, the trade deficit was USD 18.75 billion.
Last time, it was in January 2022 when the trade deficit touched USD 17.42 billion.
Commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal said that going by the trend, India’s goods and services exports will cross USD 750 billion in 2022-23.
“We have kept the momentum despite the global headwinds. Exporters have kept the momentum. Services exports are doing extremely well. Trade deficit has really come down. Hopefully we will be doing better,” Barthwal told reporters here.
He added that the ministry has started exercise to fix the target for the next fiscal also.
Export sectors that recorded negative growth during the 11-month period of this fiscal included engineering goods, gems and jewellery, cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, and plastic and linoleum.
Engineering exports dipped to USD 98.86 billion during April-February 2022-23 from USD 101.15 billion in the same period last fiscal. In the same period, gems and jewellery shipments declined to USD 35.21 billion from USD 35.32 billion during April-February 2022-23.
Sectors which recorded positive growth included petroleum products, chemicals, pharma, electronic goods, rice, ready-made garments of textiles.
Gold imports during April-February this fiscal contracted to USD 31.72, as against USD 45.12 billion in the same period last year.
In the 11 months of the current fiscal, crude oil imports rose to USD 193.47 billion as against USD 140.67 billion in the same period of 2021-22.
Similarly, imports of coal, coke and briquettes rose to USD 46.28 billion during April-February 2022-23 as against USD 27.12 billion in the year-ago period.