New Delhi: India’s merchandise exports rose marginally by 0.34 per cent to $27.93 billion in December due to slowdown in engineering and gems and jewellery segments.
However, imports fell by 2.44 percent to $41.01 billion in December due to contraction in gold imports. Gold import dipped by 24.33 per cent to $ 2.56 billion in December 2018.
This pushed the trade deficit to 10 months low at $13.08 billion against $16.67 billion in November.
Exports grew by 10.18 per cent to $ 245.44 billion suring April-December this fiscal while imports rose by 12.61 per cent to $ 386.65 billion.
Oil imports in December 2018 rose by 3.16 per cent to $ 10.67 billion. During April-December this fiscal, imports grew by 42.85 per cent to $ 108.10 billion. Non-oil imports during the nine-month period of the fiscal increased by 4.06 per cent to $278.54 billion.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), president Ganesh Kumar Gupta blamed marginal growth in exports on uncertain global cues and challenges on the domestic front. “China’s exports contracted in December 2018 highlighting fragile global conditions,” said FIEO Chief.
Mr Gupta pointed out that sectors such as petroleum, organic and inorganic chemicals, plastic and linoleum and electronic goods which were showing high growth in the previous months are now witnessing nominal growth or marginal growth.
“All major labour-intensive sectors of exports are now in negative territory,” he said.
Some 17 out of 30 major product groups were in the negative territory during December, 2018.
Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) chairman Ravi Sehgal, too, said the unfolding global situation comprises not only problems on account of trade tensions between China and the US but other issues like uncertainty over Brexit fall-out in the European markets. “The situation certainly calls for a major rethink and redrawing of our export strategy,” he said....