Goods exports dip 15% in Feb to $21.54 billion

Goods exports dip 15% in Feb to $21.54 billion

India’s merchandise exports declined 15 per cent in February to $21.54 billion while imports were down to $28.39 billion leaving the trade deficit at a 17-month low of $6.8 billion.

The trade gap narrowed mainly due to lesser import of crude oil last month. Crude oil imports were down more than 55 per cent from a month earlier, a commerce ministry data showed on Friday. Oil imports stood at $6.10 billion in February or 55.49 per cent lower than $13.70 billion in the year-ago period.

Gold imports, however, were higher than last year. Merchandise exports were $25.35 billion in February 2014.

Cumulative value of exports during April-February 2014-15 was $286.58 billion, as against $284.07 billion, up 0.88 per cent, over the same period last year.

“The trade deficit for April-February 2014-15 was estimated at $125.22 billion, higher than the deficit of $124.84 billion during April-February, 2013-14,” the ministry said. In January, exports had dipped by 11.19 per cent to $23.88 billion. That was the steepest decline in two-and-a-half-years.

In services, however, India registered a trade surplus in January. Services exports during January were valued at $14.25 billion and imports totalled $7.78 billion, leaving a trade surplus of $6.46 billion in January.

Documents pared
In order to improve the ease of doing business in India, the government on Thursday reduced the number of mandatory documents required for import and export of goods to three in each case.

The move will also lead to reduction in transaction cost and time. Currently, around 10 documents are needed to fulfil the official obligations. The notification, issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, will take effect from April 1.

The Department of Commerce had set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee under the Chairmanship of DGFT in July 2014 to study and recommend ways to reduce the number of mandatory documents required for export and import.

Based on the recommendations, the Reserve Bank has agreed to do away with certain cumbersome trade rules. Customs also agreed to merge various rules into one.

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