Exports dip 20.19% in May; down 6th month in a row
Contracting for the sixth month in a row, India's exports dipped by 20.19 <g data-gr-id="54">per cent</g> in May to $22.34 billion mainly due to global slowdown and dip in crude oil prices that impacted overseas shipments of petroleum products.
In May 2014, the country's merchandise exports had stood at $27.99 billion. The last time exports registered a positive growth was in November last year when it expanded 7.27 <g data-gr-id="33">per cent</g>. The main exporting sectors including petroleum products, gems and jewellery, engineering and chemicals reported a negative growth in May. Exporters expressed serious concerns over the continuous
decline and said the government should act fast in taking measures to help arrest the dip.
"It is <g data-gr-id="45">matter</g> of serious and grave concern as the decline has further exasperated. This, if allowed to continue, will severely impact the Indian economy," Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President S C Ralhan said. The prime reason continues to be low prices of crude, metal and commodity and slowdown in the main western markets, he said. Imports, too, declined by 16.52 per cent for the month to $32.75 billion. It was steepest since February 2014 when imports contracted by 17.09 per cent. <g data-gr-id="43">Trade</g> deficit narrowed to a <g data-gr-id="48">three month</g> low of $10.4 billion in the month under review compared with $11.23 billion in May 2014, according to data released by the commerce ministry. It was $6.85 billion in February. Oil imports dropped 40.97 per cent in May to $8.53 billion. Non-oil imports too came down by 2.24 per cent to $24.21 billion. In March, the last month of the previous fiscal 2014-15, the country's exports had contracted 21 per cent, the biggest fall in the last six years.
Meanwhile, the government has finalised modalities for import of key pulses and state-run agencies such as MMTC will soon float tenders for overseas purchase of lentils, Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain said on Tuesday. “We have finalised the modalities for import of pulses. MMTC and other state-trading agencies have been asked to float import tenders,” Hussain said. The import of pulses will boost domestic supply and check rising prices, he added. Prices of pulses have risen by more than 64 <g data-gr-id="39">per cent</g> in the last one year as the domestic production fell by nearly two million tonnes (MT) in 2014-15 crop year due to unfavourable weather conditions.
For instance in Delhi retail markets, <g data-gr-id="37">tur</g> prices have increased to Rs 113/kg, urad to Rs 112/kg, <g data-gr-id="38">moong</g> to Rs 103/kg, masoor dal to Rs 94/kg and gram to Rs 68/kg, as per the data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry.
Gold imports tick up 10.47% to $2.42 bn
Gold imports grew 10.47 <g data-gr-id="81">per cent</g> to $2.42 billion in May on declining prices and easing of restrictions by RBI. Imports of the precious metal stood at $2.19 billion in the same month of 2014. In April this year, the imports grew 78.33 <g data-gr-id="82">per cent</g> to $3.13 billion. Any increase in gold imports impacts the current account deficit (CAD).
CAD in the first half of last fiscal declined to 1.9 <g data-gr-id="80">per cent</g> of GDP ($18 billion) from 3.1 per cent ($27 billion) in the same period of the previous year.