New Delhi, May 10 (IANS) India’s exports grew by a sluggish 3.2 percent to $24.50 billion in the first month of the current financial year, after recording nearly 21 percent growth in 2011-12, Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said Thursday.
Imports increased by 3.8 percent to $37.9 billion in April year-on-year, leaving the monthly trade deficit of $13.4 billion. This is the lowest level of imports in a year.
Imports of gold and silver slumped 33 percent at $3.1 billion. Imports of the precious metal was low mainly due to an industry shutdown in early April. Jewellers had gone on a 21-day strike, protesting against the budgetary proposal to levy additional duties on sale of jewellery. The government early this week withdrew that proposal.
Exports of gems and jewellery also fell 25.7 percent to $2.6 billion in April.
Talking to reporters here Khullar said growth in exports was sluggish also because of low demands of Indian garment and cotton yarn in traditional markets.
“Though India is getting an edge in engineering and chemical exports, bad news is about export of readymade garment, made-ups and cotton yarn,” Khullar said while releasing the provisional data.
Exports of engineering products grew by 14.2 percent at $5.2 billion. Electronics exports grew by 5.4 percent to $0.6 billion, drugs and pharmaceuticals exports rose by 33 percent to $1.1 billion.
Other sectors that registered positive growth included leather, 3.2 percent higher at $0.3 billion; basic chemicals, 11.4 percent higher at $0.9 billion and marine products, 21 percent higher at $0.2 billon.
However, exports of cotton yarn and fabric made-up slumped by 20.4 percent at $0.49 billion.
India’s total exports had grown by 20.94 percent to $303.71 billion in 2011-12, surpassing the government’s target of $300 billion.
The trade deficit widened to a record $184.92 billion in 2011-12, substantially higher than the government’s target of $150 billion, and $118.63 billion deficit recorded in the previous fiscal.
As regards imports during April 2012, it was led by the increase in petroleum products, coal and machinery.
Imports of coal rose by 25.5 percent to $1.5 billion. Machinery imports grew by 14.9 percent to $2.9 billion and that of petroleum, oil and lubricants rose by 7 percent to $13.9 billion.
However, imports of gold and silver fell by 33 percent to $3.1 billion and that of pearls and precious stones slumped by 63.3 percent to $1.2 billion.