Zee News reported that the global downturn has taken the wind out of the sails of India's exports, which fell the most in 14 years in April, by 33.2% over the same month last year, while domestic slowdown led to imports dropping by 36.6% in the same period. Exports dropped for the 7 month in a row, this time to USD 10.74 billion in April 2009-10, from USD 16.08 billion a year ago.
However, oil imports in April contracted by 58.5% to USD 3.6 billion, while the non oil inbound shipments too dropped by 24.6% to USD 12.1 billion. According to official, an over 58% decline in oil import led to a sharp fall in overall imports, resulting in a narrow trade deficit of USD 5 billion in April, against USD 8.7 billion a year ago.
Mr Jyotiraditya Scindia minister of State for Commerce and Industry said "Our target is to make sure that at least we have flat growth in exports." After an impressive growth rate of over 30% in the first 6 months of the fiscal 2008-09, exports started declining since October. In 2008-09, exports grew by a meager 3.4% to USD 168.7 billion.
Mr GK Pillai Commerce Secretary said "This decline would continue till September and we hope that thereafter, we would be able to see a consolidation and improvement in exports." Mr Pillai said that exports in 2009-10 would remain in the range of USD 170 billion. He said with the rising oil product prices, the trade deficit for the current fiscal would remain at USD 100 billion compared to last year's USD 120 billion.
The Federation of Indian Export Organizations said inventories with foreign buyers are getting exhausted and exporters have started getting orders.
Mr Ajay Sahai director general of FIEO said "Inventories are getting over and orders are increasing. Demand for low price articles is increasing but there are still constraints in the middle and high class segments."