Merchandise Exports Grow 3% in Jan

Chennai: Despite the Red Sea crisis, India managed to grow both merchandise exports and imports by 3 per cent in January.

India's exports in the first month of 2024 amounted to $36.92 billion, up from $35.80 billion in January 2023 but down from $38.45 billion in December 2023.

Merchandise imports were also up 3 per cent year-on-year last month at $54.41 billion, although they were down from $58.25 billion in December 2023.

Merchandise trade deficit marginally widened to $17.49 billion in January against the year-ago month but narrowed against $19.80 billion in December 2023. This is also the lowest monthly trade deficit in the last nine months. The merchandise trade deficit during the April-Jan period also narrowed by 9.26 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Petroleum product shipments which grew 6.57 per cent, engineering goods exports which rose 4.20 per cent and electronics export growth of 9.31 per cent mainly supported the year-on-year growth in exports. However, on a month-on-month basis exports of both petroleum products and engineering goods were down against December 2023.

During April-January FY24, exports dropped 4.89 per cent to $353.92 billion while imports slipped 6.71 per cent to $561.12 billion.

“As a result of the Red Sea crisis, exporters are already facing the heat. Shortage of containers and high shipping costs have been impacting the profit margins of exporters. We therefore remain cautiously optimistic about short - and medium-term growth in engineering goods exports,” said Arun Kumar Garodia, chairman, of the Engineering Export Promotion Council.

However, services exports in January at $32.80 billion and services imports at $16.05 billion were higher both on a yearly as well as month-on-month basis. This helped the overall exports grow 9.28 per cent and overall imports grow 4.15 per cent. The overall trade deficit in January shrunk to 0.74 billion against 3.85 billion in the year-ago month. Overall trade deficit for the April-Jan period also improved by 37 per cent.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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