New Delhi, Aug 12 (PTI): India’s exports grew by 11.64 per cent in July, the highest rate in nearly two years, while imports dipped by 6.2 per cent.
While the trade deficit remained at June’s level of US$12.2 billion, keeping alive worries about the current account deficit and the fluctuating rupee, the export numbers offset gloom elsewhere: latest data showed industrial production contracted by 2.2 per cent in June.
While exports soared to $25.83 billion in July, imports declined to $38.1 billion.
Gold and silver imports, which dipped by 34 per cent to $2.9 billion in July from $4.4 billion in the same period last year, helped to maintain the trade deficit at the June level.
Commerce Secretary S R Rao expressed hope that recently announced incentives, including a hike in the rate of interest subsidy, would help shipments to grow in the coming months.
“We do hope that these measures would help us in improving our export target performance in the coming months...continuing interest in Africa, Latin America, Asean and Far East regions should be helping us (in increasing exports),” he told reporters here.
He said the country's exports should be “slightly” better than the previous fiscal when it touched $300.6 billion.
During April-July, exports grew by 1.72 per cent to $98.2 billion. Imports increased by 2.82 per cent to $160.7 billion during the period. The trade deficit during the first four months of this fiscal was $62.4 billion.
In May and June, shipments were in negative zone. In September 2011, exports were up by over 35 per cent.
India's economic growth fell to a decade's low of 5 per cent in fiscal 2012-13. The CAD touched a historic high of 4.8 per cent of GDP in 2012-13, mainly on account of import of gold and petroleum products. The rupee touched an all time low of 61.81 against the dollar last week.
The Commerce Secretary said the government is aiming at a 10 per cent growth in exports as compared to the previous fiscal year.
”...that (10 per cent growth) is what we should be aiming at...New initiatives should play out in the medium term and we do expect exports should be slightly better,” Rao said.
Oil imports in July declined 8 per cent to $12.7 billion and during April-July, it increased 2.65 per cent to $54.5 billion. Non-oil imports fell 5.26 per cent to $25.39 billion. However, during the first four months, it grew 2.9 per cent to $106.15 billion.
On the fluctuating domestic currency, Rao said: “Any stable exchange rate helps exports. To have a stable currency is important to boost exports.”
Exporting sectors that performed well in July include textiles, ready-made garments, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Sectors such as gold and jewellery and engineering did not do well.
Besides gold and silver, imports of vegetable oil, precious and semi-precious stones, transport equipment and fertilisers declined during the month.
The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said the various initiatives taken during the past six months have brought exports back on track.
”The double-digit growth in exports coupled with positive signs emanating from US and EU reassures FIEO of continuance of the trend in months to come,” it said.