India's exports decline 6%; imports dip 13.45%

New Delhi: India's exports dropped by 6.05% to USD 26.13 billion in August mainly on account of significant dip in shipments from key sectors such as petroleum, engineering, leather, and gems & jewellery.

Imports too declined by 13.45% to USD 39.58 billion, narrowing trade deficit to USD 13.45 billion in August, according to the government data showed.

The imports during the month slipped the most after August 2016, when it had contracted by 14%. The trade deficit stood at USD 17.92 billion in August 2018.

Out of 30 key sectors, as many as 22 showed negative growth in August. Shipments of gems and jewellery, engineering goods, and petroleum products contracted by 3.5%, 9.35% and 10.73%, respectively.

The sectors which recorded positive growth in the last month include iron ore, electronic goods, spices, and marine products. The country's outbound shipments have remained subdued so far this year. It will have implications on the overall economic growth, which has reported over six-year low growth of 5% in the first quarter of the current fiscal. India's industrial production growth too slowed to 4.3% in July, dragged mainly by manufacturing sector's poor show, according to a government data.

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal yesterday said India will have to achieve USD one trillion exports in the next five years, and for this there is a need to increase domestic production and improve competitiveness.

In August, oil imports declined by 8.9% to USD 10.88 billion, and non-oil imports fell by 15% to USD 28.71 billion. Cumulatively, during April-August 2019, exports were down 1.53% to USD 133.54 billion, while imports contracted by 5.68% to USD 206.39 billion. Gold imports plunged 62.49% to USD 1.36 billion in the month. Commenting on the figures, Ludhiana-based exporter S C Ralhan said this is the right time for the government to announce incentives.

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