New Delhi: India’s exports surged to record high growth of 37.6% in the fiscal year 2010/11, the government said in a statement on Monday, as demand soared for engineering goods, oil products and gems manufactured in Asia’s third-largest economy.
Exports were at $245.9 billion for the year, comfortably higher than the government’s original target of $200 billion, while imports rose 22% to $351 billion. The trade deficit was at $104.8 billion, slightly higher than the provisional forecast of $104.4 billion.
The government had released the provisional data for the year in mid-April.
India will target at least 25% export growth in this fiscal year but uncertainty over the global economy and a ballooning import bill mean concerns persist over the trade deficit of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
India’s monthly exports have notched double-digit growth for much of the past year as demand revived from traditional export destinations — the United States and Europe, which had fallen sharply after the financial crisis. Indian exporters have also seen high growth in new markets, especially in Latin America.
The trade ministry had raised “serious concern” earlier in the year over the trade deficit, which is set to balloon to $278.5 billion by 2014 on current trends, a 20-fold increase over a decade from the $14.3 billion in 2004.
Oil imports for the fiscal year 2010-11 rose 16.7% to $102 billion.
India’s exports in the month of March rose 43.9% to $29.1 billion while imports rose 17.3% to $34.7 billion. The trade deficit was at $5.6 billion for the month while oil imports rose 8.2% to $9.4 billion.
The trade deficit, which widened to a 23-month high in August, later moderated on the back of stronger-than-expected exports. That helped narrow the current account deficit in the quarter through December to under 2.5% of gross domestic product (GDP), lower than 4.3% in the previous quarter.
Trade Secretary Rahul Khullar in April said the current account deficit for the full fiscal year 2010-11 will be less than 3% of India’s GDP. However, he was reluctant to predict the trade deficit and current account deficit for the fiscal year ending March 2012.