Exports post first rise in 7 months, grow by 2.91% in Feb

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India’s exports rose for the first time in seven months in February, growing by 2.91 per cent to $27.65 billion (about Rs 1.97 lakh crore) on account of growth in shipments of sectors such as petroleum, engineering and chemicals.

Trade deficit marginally widened to $9.85 billion as against $9.72 billion in February 2019.

The deficit during the month under review was lowest in twelve months.

The previous low was in February last year.

According to data released by commerce ministry on Friday, imports rose for the first time in ninth months in February, growing 2.48 per cent to $37.5 billion (about Rs 2.68 lakh crore).

Imports have been recording negative growth since June last year.

Gold imports shrunk 8.5 per cent to $2.36 billion in February this year.

“Despite global challenges, Indian exports once again enter into growth trajectory in February after a gap of 6 months.

“Exports of electronic goods and chemicals grow at 37 per cent and 16 per cent respectively,” Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet.

Spices, cashew, oil seeds, marine products, iron ore, pharma, carpet and handicrafts are among the other sectors which recorded positive growth.

Oil imports jumped by 14.26 per cent to $10.76 billion in February, while non-oil imports dipped 1.6 per cent to $26.74 billion.

Exports during April-February this fiscal dipped by 1.5 per cent to $292.91 billion.

Imports during the period declined 7.30 per cent to $436 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $143.12 billion.

Commenting on the data, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) termed February growth as “nominal” and said that in the wake of coronavirus outbreak, which not only pulled down the global sentiments but also affected the supply chain both internationally and domestically, such modest growth is encouraging.

“However, the impact of pandemic will be more visible in exports figure of March onwards,” it said in a statement.

As many as 16 out of the 30 major product groups were in positive territory during February, including petroleum and engineering goods.

Meanwhile, a release from RBI showed that services export in January stood at about $19 billion, while imports were at $12 billion.

Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters