Oil imports up 29.27%
Indian exports totaled US$331 billion for FY 2018-19, up 9.06% on the year despite troubled global markets.
For the full fiscal (2018-19), imports rose by 8.99% to US$507.44 billion, widening the trade deficit to US$176.42 billion as against US$162 billion in 2017-18.
During the full fiscal, the sectors which recorded healthy growth include petroleum (28%), plastic (25.6%), chemicals (22%), pharmaceuticals (11%) and engineering (6.36%).
Data showed that oil imports in April-March 2018-19 grew by 29.27% to US$140.47 billion, while non-oil imports were up by 2.82% to US$366.97 billion during that fiscal.
“Through secular growth over the last three financial years, following the major downturn in the face of the global slowdown, merchandise exports for 2018-19 are estimated at US$331.02 billion, the highest ever, surpassing the earlier peak of US$314.4 billion achieved in 2013-14,” said the Commerce Ministry.
This has been achieved in a challenging global environment,” the Ministry said in a statement on 15 April 2019.
The ministry also said that total exports (goods and services combined) have been growing since 2016-17 and have surpassed the US$500 billion mark in 2018-19 “for the first time”.
The overall estimated exports (merchandise and services) have reached a new peak of US$535.4 billion this year, attaining a growth of 7.97% on the year.
Commenting on the data, Trade Promotion Council Of India (TPCI) Chairman Mohit Singla said that despite global challenges, the 2018-19 exports registered best ever performance.
“There is a need to further focus on new products like food commodity so that the growth is more resilient and sustainable. Also, it will cushion our exports from the global volatility and shocks in the long run,” Singla said.
Welcoming the record exports on 15 April 2019, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Ganesh Kumar Gupta said exports grew despite major challenges including protectionism, tough global conditions and constraints on the domestic front.
“We demand for immediate support like augmenting flow of credit, higher tax deduction for R&D, outright exemption from GST, interest equalization support to agri exports, benefits on sales to foreign tourists to further boost exports,” said Gupta, renewing his earlier calls.
For March, exports rose to a five-month high of 11%. Merchandise exports in March stood at US$32.55 billion as against US$29.32 billion in the same month last year.
This is the best growth rate for exports since October 2018, when shipments grew by 17.86%, according to commentaries on increase in shipments.
Imports rose by 1.44% to US$43.44 billion in March 2019.
Trade deficit in March 2019 was narrowed to US$10.89 billion from US$13.51 billion in corresponding month of 2018.
Oil and gold imports rose by 5.55% and 31.22% to US$11.75 billion and US$3.27 billion, respectively, in March 2019. fiinews.com