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CAD halved to $45 bn by gold import curbs

‘CAD that threatened to exceed last year's $88 billion will be contained at $45 billion,’ he said in the interim budget presented in Parliament.

The Finance Minister also said, ‘I am happy to inform the House that we expect to add about $15 billion to the foreign exchange reserves by the end of the financial year.’

In the first half (April-September) of 2013-14, CAD narrowed to $26.9 billion (3.1 per cent of GDP) from $37.9 billion (4.5 per cent of GDP) in the first half of 2012-13.

Both the government and the Reserve Bank of India had taken steps to bring down gold imports, one of the major causes for the widening of the CAD in 2012-13.

The government had increased customs duty on gold thrice in 2013 to 10 per cent and the RBI had imposed a series of curbs on inward shipments of the yellow metal.

... As exports look set to rise by 6.3% to $326 bn

New Delhi:
India's exports are expected to grow by 6.3 per cent to $326 billion during the current fiscal, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said.

‘Though 2013-14 began on a pessimistic note, I am happy to inform the House that the year will end with estimated merchandise exports of $326 billion, indicating a growth rate of 6.3 per cent,’ he said in the interim Budget speech in Parliament. India's merchandise exports were at the level of $300.4 billion in 2012-13, a decline of 1.8 per cent over the previous year.

‘However, imports are down and this does not augur well for either manufacturing or domestic trade. Our aim must be robust growth in both exports and imports, with trade in balance over a period of time,’ Chidambaram added.

Further, he said exports have recovered sharply and the recovery must be seen in the context of growth of global trade declining from 6.1 per cent in 2011 to 2.7 per cent in 2013.

The country's apex exporters body Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said that support extended by the minister for research and development activities and reduction of duties on capital goods will help in increasing competitiveness of Indian products in the global market.

‘The Budget is not very exciting for exporters but the support for R&D activities and reduction of duties on capital goods will help in boosting competitiveness of our products,’ FIEO President Rafeeq Ahmed said.

However, he expressed doubt over touching the overall exports figure of $326 billion for
the current fiscal.
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