A sharp rise in export of petroleum products, chemicals, marine products and engineering goods has placed export growth in the country on a firmer track with outbound shipments in August 2017 posting a double-digit year-on-year increase of 10.29 per cent to $23.81 billion.
Trade deficit, however, widened to $11.64 billion from $7.70 billion as growth in imports during the month was a higher 21.02 per cent at $35.46 billion.
Export growth has remained positive for the past 12 consecutive months but the pace of growth has been tardy over the last few months. The double-digit growth, spread across a large number of sectors including tea, coffee, rice, iron-ore, ceramic products and carpets, has made exporters positive about the future.
“A pick up in exports during August augurs well for Indian exporters who seem to be benefiting from recovery in major global markets, including the key economies of the US and Europe,” said TS Bhasin, Chairman, Engineering Export Promotion Council.
Exports can be further enhanced if certain problems arising out of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation are addressed, he added.
With the GST regime doing away with most of the exemptions on input taxes enjoyed by exporters so far under various schemes (they have to pay duties now and then claim refunds), they have been complaining about a liquidity crisis.
Rise in imports in August 2017 has been significant for a number of sectors including petroleum products, gold, electronic goods, iron & steel, other metals, coal & coke, pearls and other precious stones and machinery.
Total exports in April-August 2017-18 posted a growth of 8.57 per cent to $118.57 billion.
Imports in the first five months of the fiscal rose 26.63 per cent to $181.71 billion.
Trade deficit in the period almost doubled to $63.14 billion.
Source: The Hindu Business Line