April exports dip 6.74% in 17th straight monthly fall
Imports too dipped by 23.1 per cent to $25.41 billion in the month under review as against $33 billion in April 2015. Trade deficit in April more than halved to $4.84 billion as compared to $11 billion in the same month last year. “The trend of falling exports is in tandem with other major world economies. The growth in exports have fallen for USA (3.87 per cent), EU (0.04 per cent), China (25.34 per cent) and Japan (1.10 per cent) for February over the corresponding period of previous year as per WTO statistics,” the commerce ministry said in a statement while releasing the trade data.
Exports have been falling since December 2014 due to weak global demand and slide in oil prices. Oil imports in April dipped by 24.01 per cent to $5.6 billion. Non-oil imports too fell by 22.83 per cent to $19.75 billion.
In April, overseas shipments of petroleum products shrank 28.15 per cent to $1.97 billion, while that of engineering goods declined by 19 per cent to $4.76 billion. These two sectors contribute significant in the country’s total exports. The other sectors which reported negative growth in the first month of the current fiscal includes carpet, leather, rice and cashew.
However, exports of tea, coffee, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals recorded positive growth. For whole 2015-16 financial year ended March 31, exports declined by 15.8 per cent to five-year low of $261.13 billion due to fragile global demand and low commodity prices.
Moreover, owing to severe slowdown in the global markets, domestic engineering exporters are now aggressively focusing on Middle Eastern countries. “Due to a severe slowdown in the global markets, the engineering exporters are going all-out for a hard-sell in the Middle East countries by aggressive participation in the high-tech industrial fairs,” EEPC India Executive Director and Secretary Bhaskar Sarkar said in a statement issued here.
Under the aegis of EEPC India and with the help of the Commerce Ministry, as many as 50 top engineering exporting firms are participating in Jordan’s flagship ‘JIMEX 2016’ event that brings under one roof about 200 global exhibitors representing more than 550 international trademarks.
While the brand India exercise will take place between May 16-19 during JIMEX, EEPC India has already participated in the UAE industrial fair held earlier this month. “While the Middle East market, including the UAE and Jordan, is key for the Indian engineering exporters, we have witnessed quite a fall in the shipments in line with the falling trend in rest of the world.
“By some aggressive marketing strategy and with the help of the government under the Market Access Initiative (MAI), we want to reverse this trend,” he said.
Against the exports of $396 million in 2014, engineering exports from India to Jordan fell sharply to $105 million under the impact of a steep fall in the commodity prices. Likewise, shipments dropped to $5.1 billion in 2014 from $6.4 billion to the all-important Middle Eastern market of UAE.
Sarkar further said a sharp drop in crude oil prices and the likelihood of the softening trend continuing would bring about a structural change in the Middle Eastern economies, a development full of opportunities for Indian engineering sector.