Exports dip 8.74% in November, trade deficit at 10-month high

New Delhi: India’s exports fell 8.74% in November, steeper than 5.12% in October at $23.52 billion, dragged by petroleum goods, engineering, chemicals and gems and jewellery.
However, the decline was lower than 9.07% as shown by preliminary data released by the commerce and industry ministry earlier this month.

Official data released Tuesday showed India’s trade deficit touching a 10-month high of $9.87 billion in November though it narrowed from $12.75 billion in November 2019.

“Supply side disruptions including restricted container movement and declining petroleum exports due to its crashing prices have impacted exports. Also, farmers’ agitation has affected shipments,” said Sharad Kumar Saraf, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

Ceramics, pharmaceuticals, carpet and handicrafts were a few sectors that witnessed rise in exports. Exports have been seeing news24nations of revival as order booking position has continuously improved and more new orders are in the offing, according to FIEO.
“With renewed restrictions in various trading partners causing exports to falter, the trade deficit rose to a 10-month high,” said Aditi Nayar, principal economist at ICRA.

Total imports declined 13.32% to $33.39 billion. However, inward shipments of gold and electrons rose last month.

Nayar attributed the slide in non-oil export growth to renewed restrictions in trading partners, that outweighed the optimism related to an early availability of Covid-19 vaccines.

Non-oil and non-gold imports, an indicator of the strength of domestic demand, shrank 1.67% in November.

Imports of machine tools, machinery, transport equipment and project goods declined last month.

ICRA expects the size of the merchandise trade deficit to nearly double in the December quarter of FY21 from the September quarter, with imports recovering on the back of an improvement in economic activity, a rise in commodity prices and pick-up in demand for gold during the festive and marriage season but fresh restrictions imposed in India’s major trading partners to ward off rising Covid-19 infections, are likely to arrest the improvement in exports.