NEW DELHI: India’s exports shrank for the third straight month in December but the pace of contraction slowed to 0.8% from 8.74% decline in November even as the country’s trade deficit widened.
Outbound shipments in December were $26.89 billion and in sectors like petroleum, leather and marine products witnessed contraction, preliminary data released by the commerce and industry ministry showed Saturday.
The trade deficit in December widened to $15.71 billion, as imports grew by 7.6% to $42.6 billion due to a sharp increase in gold imports. Gold imports rose 81.8% in December 2020 to $2.01 billion.
Other items that witnessed an increase in imports include electronic goods, vegetable oil, chemicals, textile yarn and fabric, machine tools, pharmaceuticals and precious & semi-precious stones.
“India is thus a net importer in December 2020,” the ministry said in a statement.
Among geographies, Singapore was the top destination for India’s exports last month with an increase of $241.63 million led by petroleum products and engineering goods, followed by the US and UK.
Major commodities of export which recorded growth during the month under review include Oil meals, Iron ore, Carpet, pharmaceuticals, spices, electronic goods, fruits and vegetables, and chemicals.
“The monthly exports have moved towards positive territory as major export products show news24nations of further revival as expected,” said Federation of Indian Export Organisations President, Sharad Kumar Saraf.
Saraf said the order booking position have continuously improved besides more new orders in the offing.
“Going ahead by this trend, we expect our inventories to be liquidated, adding further to the overall demand,” he said.
In December 2020, oil imports declined 10.37% to $9.61 billion.
Exports during April-December 2020-21 fell 15.8% to $200.55 billion compared to the same period last fiscal. Imports posted a decline of 29.08% to $258.29 billion.
To give a leg up to exports, FIEO sought notification of the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products
rates, addressing issues such as adequate availability of containers, softening of freight charges, release of the required MEIS benefits and clarity on SEIS benefits and risky exporters.