Exports of goods from India continued to grow in January 2018 posting an increase of 9.07 per cent (year-on-year) to $24.38 billion propelled by rise in engineering goods, petroleum products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals.
Trade deficit, however, widened to $16.29 billion in January 2018 as imports during the month increased a sharp 26.10 per cent to $40.68 billion compared to the same month last year, according to trade data released by the Commerce Ministry on Thursday.
Another concern for exporters and the economy at large is the decline in exports from some of the largest employment generating sectors including garments, handlooms, carpets, man-made textiles and handicrafts. “Labour-intensive sectors are exhibiting negative growth primarily due to liquidity crunch emanating from blocking of funds in GST,” pointed out Ganesh Kumar Gupta from FIEO.
Gupta said that while exports increased for three consecutive months, the slowdown in the pace of growth was worrying for exporters. Exports posted a 31 per cent growth in November 2017 followed by an increase of 12.36 per cent in December 2017.
Total exports for the period April-January 2017-18 posted a growth of 11.47 per cent to $ 247.89 billion, but the target of 15 per cent growth set by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley appeared to be slipping. Exports would need to cross $315 billion to grow 15 per cent over last fiscal’s export of $275.85 billion.
Total imports for the period April-January 2017-18 was $ 379.05 billion registering a growth of 22.21 per cent over the same period last year. Trade deficit in the ten-month period increased to $131.15 billion compared to $88.33 billion in the same period last year.