Good news in New Year: Exports turn positive after 13 months


Exports in November 2009 increased to USD 13.19 billion from USD 11.16 billion a year ago marking a trend reversal of decline that had set in since October 2008 due to widespread recession in key global markets.
Imports remained in the negative zone declining by 2.6 per cent to USD 22.88 billion, leading to a lower trade gap of USD 9.69 billion during the month against USD 12.32 billion in November 2008.
However, the import contraction in November was much lower than 15 per cent in October, signifying pick up in the economic activity.
For the April-November period, exports dropped by 22.3 per cent to USD 104.24 billion, much lower than 26 per cent gap up to October this fiscal.
While exports have turned positive partly due to low base of last year, experts cautioned against complacency.
"Exporters need to keep their competitiveness both in terms of quality and prices and focus on market and product diversification," R M Joshi of the prestigious Indian Institute of Foreign Trade said.
ICRIER Director Rajiv Kumar said government stimulus should continue and exporters need to be cautious about the exchange rate volatility.

India's apex exporters body Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said the November data indicates the adaptability of exporters to the changing global economy and the positive impact of the stimulus extended by the government.
FIEO President A Sakthivel hopes that the government would continue with the stimulus, particularly interest subsidy for exports.
Despite the positive growth, the country's overseas shipments in the current fiscal are likely to remain much lower than the USD 185 billion worth of shipments last year.
As per the FIEO estimates, exports in 2009-10 are expected remain in the range of USD 165–170 billion.
Meanwhile, India's oil imports also turned positive after 13 months and increased by 7.3 per cent to USD 6.38 billion in November compared to USD 5.95 billion a year ago.
The imports during April-November were USD 50.18 billion, 34.4 per cent lower than USD 76.52 billion in the year ago period. The non-oil imports contracted by 5.9 per cent to USD 16.5 billion from USD 17.5 billion in November 2008-09.
As per the data, non-oil imports were 23.8 per cent lower at USD 120.2 billion in April-November 2009-10 than the USD 157.8 billion in the comparable figure last year.
Trade gap during the first eight months of the current fiscal was USD 66.18 billion compared to USD 100.15 billion in the same period last year.

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