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March exports increase 6.97% but total for FY13 falls 1.76%

Reflecting some recovery in the global markets, India's exports grew for the third month in a row, rising by 6.97 per cent in March though on annual basis it declined 1.76 per cent to $300.6 billion in 2012-13.

Exports in March stood at $30.8 billion compared to $28.8 billion in the same month of previous year.

Imports dipped by 2.87 per cent to $41.16 billion in March, leaving a trade deficit of $10.31 billion from $13.5 billion in March last year. In January, it had widened to $20 billion, the second highest figure ever in a month. However, for 2012-13, the trade deficit grew to $190.91 billion as against $183.3 billion in the previous fiscal.

Exports had entered positive zone after a gap of eight months in January when it recorded a growth of 0.82 per cent.

Commerce secretary S R Rao said exports are gradually picking up and hoped the current trend will continue. 'Export performance has started picking up. For March, the export performance has picked by a slightly robust figure as compared to the previous two months. We do expect this trend to continue and we would like to consolidate,' Rao said.

He said if the current trend continued, India's exports is expected to grow by about 10 per cent this fiscal. '...I should assume a minimum of 10 per cent (growth) if trend continues...,' he added.

On trade deficit, Rao said that it has come down slightly 'which is a good news. Given a very weak performance for major part of the year, I think in the last 3-4 months, we really covered a good deal of ground which is not sufficient but certainly there is progress in exports'. During 2012-13, imports grew by 0.44 per cent to $491.48 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $190.91 billion from $183.3 billion in 2011-12.

Oil imports in March 2013 declined by 16.56 per cent to $ 13.32 billion. During the previous fiscal, the imports however grew by 9.22 per cent to $ 169.25 billion from $ 154.96 billion in 2011-12.

Non-oil imports in March increased by 5.41 per cent to $ 27.83 billion but during 2012-13, it dipped 3.62 per cent to $322.23 billion.

While announcing sops for exporters, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said in 2012-13, India's exports to Asia, Africa and Latin America touched $195.27 billion, accounting for 65 per cent of the total export basket.

'This is indeed a development with significant import as South-South trade is assuming a new dynamics.

'Apart from this, value added exports have got a centrality in our export basket as engineering exports accounted for $57 billion, textiles accounted for $26 billion and pharmaceuticals at $15 billion', he added.


CENTRE EXTENDS EPCG & BRINGS ALL SECTORS UNDER IT, GIVES SEZS SOPS

Faced with a dangerously high current account deficit (CAD), the government on Thursday announced a slew of measures including extension of the popular EPCG scheme to all sectors and sops for Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to boost shipments.

The initiatives announced by commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma as part of the annual supplement to the Foreign Trade Policy are aimed at pushing exports which declined by 1.76 per cent to $300.6 billion during 2012-13 and pushed up the trade deficit to $190.91 billion.

The Export Promotion Capital Goods scheme, which allows exporters to import capital goods at zero duty, would be extended beyond March 2013 and would be applicable to all sectors, Sharma said.

‘We have decided not only to extend the zero duty under Export Promotion Capital Goods scheme beyond March 2013, but also merge it with 3 per cent EPCG scheme. Now, the zero duty EPCG benefit will be available to all sectors," the Minister said. As regards the SEZ scheme, Sharma said, the minimum land area requirement for the setting up such zones has been reduced to half and there would be no ceiling for IT and ITeS SEZs.

On demands of a exit policy for the SEZs, minister said it has been decided to allow transfer of ownership and sale of  Special Economic Zones.


RS RISES TO 1-1/2-MONTH HIGH OF 53.96 TO $

The Indian rupee bounced back 25 paise to close above 54-mark at nearly 1-1/2-month high of 53.96 against the $ on strong local equities amid fresh dollar selling by exporters.

Weak dollar overseas also helped the rupee rise while sustained capital inflows restricted the rupee surge, a forex dealer said.
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