Home / Politics / Policy /  Exports grow 27.59% in March, gold imports jump 329.19% to $4.2 billion

New Delhi: Driven by a significant pick-up in shipments of engineering goods and petroleum products, India’s merchandise exports registered a sharp jump in March growing in double digits for the second consecutive month showing signs of revival in global demand.

Data released by commerce ministry showed merchandise exports grew 27.59% in March to $29.3 billion while imports rose 45.25% to $39.7 billion leaving a trade deficit of $10.4 billion during the month. Trade deficit would have been significantly lower except for 329.19% jump in gold imports to $4.2 billion during the month.

For the full financial year 2016-17, exports rose 4.71% while imports contracted 0.17% leading to a trade deficit of $107.5 billion.

Aditi Nayar, principal economist, ICRA Ltd said both merchandise imports and exports posted a surprisingly sharp expansion in March, partly reflecting higher commodity prices. “Based on the wider than expected merchandise trade deficit in March 2017, the current account deficit is likely to print at $16.5-17.5 billion in FY2017," she added.

China’s exports rose 16.4% in March from a year earlier to $180.6 billion while imports grew 20.3% to $156.6 billion leading to a trade surplus of $24 billion.

The World Trade Organisation on Wednesday said global trade of goods is forecast to grow at 2.4% in volume terms in 2017 but could also slow to 1.8% if the “uncertainty" about overall macro-economic and trade policies persists across major industrialized nations.

Among 29 major commodities, only five exporting items and eight importing items contracted in March.

While petroleum products (69.13%) and engineering goods (46.7%) drove India’s exports in March, gems and jewellery (12.5%), drugs and pharmaceuticals (5.5%), readymade garments (20.25%) also saw significant jump in shipments.

Among importing items, apart from gold, the items that saw a significant jump in import in March include vegetable oil (28.1%), coal (76.88%), petroleum products (101.43%), chemicals (24.9%), pearls (56.7%), machinery (13.5%) and electronic goods (32.1%). However, import of transport equipment contracted 36.4% during the month.

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