The country’s exports registered a 44.2 per cent year-on-year growth to touch $24.3 billion in August, according to provisional data with the Commerce Ministry.
Imports, too, grew 41.8 per cent at $38.4 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $14.1 billion for the month. The trade deficit in August 2010 was $13 billion.
The export growth for the latest recorded month is below the whopping 81.79 per cent figure for July. In absolute terms, too, the August exports of $24.3 billion are lower than the $29.34-billion worth of merchandise shipped out in July.
The slowdown compared with the July numbers prompted the Commerce Secretary, Dr Rahul Khullar, to urge for a stimulus package for exports. According to him, the lower growth was indicative of “difficulties down the road”.
The cumulative value of exports during April-August stood at $134.5 billion, with imports at $189.44 billion. The trade deficit for the period stood at $54.9 billion. The trade deficit for April-August 2010 was $56.6 billion.
The data point to a difficult time ahead and the increased trade deficit should be a cause of concern for all, said Mr Ramu S. Deora, President Federation of Indian Exports Organisations. “We may have to face further decline in export growth in the third and fourth quarters, primarily due to recessionary trend in advanced economies, pulling down the overall export growth in the current fiscal,” he said.
COTTON EXPORTS ALLOWED
Meanwhile, Dr Khullar announced that cotton exports would be freely allowed from the new crop harvesting season starting October 1.
“It has been decided to place cotton on the Open General License,” he said. Export curbs had been imposed on cotton with an upper limit of 55 lakh bales set during 2010-11.
The Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Friday also issued separate notifications for putting exports of non-Basmati rice and wheat under OGL without any mention about export ceilings or minimum export prices.
Besides, a notification for ban on export of “all varieties” of onions was also issued.