Exports up 36%, imports rise 43% in April

Exports up 36%, imports rise 43% in April

New Delhi: India’s April exports rose an annual 36% as demand picked up for its gems and textiles, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said on Wednesday, but cautioned that the euro zone debt crisis could hurt exports.

India’s imports in April rose an annual 43% to $27.3 billion buoyed by industrial recovery, stronger domestic growth and rising oil prices, Khullar told reporters at a briefing.

“Don’t get carried away by the 36.2% growth," he said. “Yes, things are much better than last year, but that huge bump in growth really is more a pure base effect."

Global trade flows are expected to rebound by nearly a tenth in 2010 in line with economic recovery.

Indian exports have shown strong growth in the past six months after 13 straight months of decline. Some sectors such as handicrafts continue to lag and the federal government has provided aid to struggling exporters.

April exports stood at $16.9 billion and the trade deficit at $10.4 billion. Oil imports rose 70% to $8.1 billion in April compared to $4.7 billion in April last year.

Khullar said the April exports number does not take into account the possible impact of Greece’s debt woes on trade. The European Union is India’s largest trading partner and accounts for around 20-25% of India’s exports.

“You do not know how Greece will pan out," he said. “If the contagion spreads, God forbid, then what do you do? I hope for the best, but I have to be ready for the worst," he added.

India’s exports dropped 4.7% in the fiscal year 2009-10 as the global slowdown sapped demand. Asia’s third-largest economy is targeting close to 15% export growth this year.