New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) India's exports contracted by 8.8 per cent to USD 33.88 billion in February due to a slowdown in global demand while the trade deficit eased to a year's low of USD 17.43 billion in the month due to receding imports.
Imports declined for a third month on the trot in February at USD 51.31 billion, down by 8.21 per cent compared to USD 55.9 billion a year ago, according to the data released by the commerce ministry on Wednesday.
The trade deficit was USD 18.75 billion in February 2022 while previously the deficit touched a low of USD 17.42 billion in January 2022.
The commerce ministry revised the export data for January. As per the revised numbers, the export rose by 1.51 per cent to USD 35.76 billion against the earlier estimate of a 6.58 per cent decline to USD 32.91 billion in the month. Merchandise exports declined by 12.2 per cent to USD 34.48 billion in December 2022.
Cumulatively, the country's merchandise exports rose by 7.5 per cent to USD 405.94 billion in April-February 2022-23. Imports during the 11-month period increased by 18.82 per cent to USD 653.47 billion. The merchandise trade deficit for the April-February this fiscal stood at about USD 247.53 billion.
Similarly, the data for December 2022 was revised from a dip of 12.2 per cent to 3 per cent.
Commerce secretary Sunil Barthwal said that going by the trend, India's goods and services exports will cross USD 750 billion in 2022-23.
"We have kept the momentum despite the global headwinds. Exporters have kept the momentum. Services exports are doing extremely well. Trade deficit has really come down. Hopefully, we will be doing better," Barthwal told reporters here.
He added that the ministry has started an exercise to fix the target for the next fiscal also.
Export sectors that recorded negative growth during the 11-month period of this fiscal included engineering goods, gems and jewellery, cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, and plastic and linoleum.
Engineering exports dipped by 4.24 per cent to USD 96.9 billion during April-February 2022-23. In the same period, gems and jewellery shipments declined by 0.3 per cent to USD 35.21 billion.
Sectors which recorded positive growth included petroleum products, chemicals, pharma, electronic goods, rice, ready-made garments of textiles.
Gold imports during April-February this fiscal contracted by 29.71 to USD 31.72. These imports in February dipped by 45 per cent to USD 2.63 billion.
In the 11 months of the current fiscal, crude oil imports rose by 37.54 per cent to USD 193.47 billion. The imports in February dipped by 4.27 per cent to USD 15 billion.
Similarly, imports of coal, coke and briquettes rose to USD 46.28 billion during April-February 2022-23 as against USD 27.12 billion in the year-ago period.
During April-January this fiscal, India's smartphone exports rose to Rs 67,333 crore.
Services exports in February are estimated at USD 29.15 billion, an increase from USD 21.3 billion in the same month of 2022. Imports are estimated at USD 14.55 billion in February as against USD 12.97 billion in February 2022.
Cumulatively, during April-February this fiscal, the country's services exports rose by 30.5 per cent to USD 296.94 billion. Imports during the period increased by 24.5 per cent to USD 164 billion.
According to the commerce ministry statement, exports of electronic goods increased by 29.85 per cent in February to USD 1.93 billion. During April February 2022-23 the exports rose to USD 20.70 billion as compared to USD 13.84 billion during the same period last year.
Commenting on the data, Sanjay Budhia Chairman - CII National Committee on EXIM and MD- PATTON Group said that although India's exports have slightly dipped in February owing to the turbulent global scenario, it is encouraging to note that merchandise exports saw a rise in the April-February period in spite of an adverse business environment.
"CII and the Indian industry has utmost faith in the reforms introduced by the government to improve the trading environment for inducing a rise in the overall Indian exports," he said.
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President A Sakthivel said that they expect 2022-23 to end up with export of USD 770-780 billion, which will be over USD 100 billion as compared to aggregate export of USD 672 billion recorded in 2021-22, exhibiting a high growth of 15-16 per cent. PTI RR MR