Exports dive for ninth successive month

Exports dive for ninth successive month

New Delhi: India’s exports plunged by more than a quarter in June, marking the ninth straight month that overseas sales have fallen due to the global economic slump, official data showed Monday.

Shipments slid 28% to $12.8 billion from $17.73 billion in the same month a year earlier as demand for made-in-India goods continues to shrink.

The figures came ahead of an announcement planned later this month of the government’s annual trade policy for the fiscal year to March 2010, which is expected to offer more assistance to hard-pressed exporters.

India’s imports also fell, by 29.3% to $19 billion , reflecting the decline in global oil prices and a slowdown in domestic demand.

As a result, India’s trade deficit narrowed to $6.16 billion in June from $9.12 billion in the same month a year earlier.

The World Trade Organization has forecast that global trade will shrink by nine to 11% this year because of the recession in developed countries like the United States, Europe and Japan.

The global slowdown has “adversely impacted our trade," commerce minister Anand Sharma said last week, calling the outlook “not very encouraging."

Unlike China, where overseas sales have been a main growth driver over the past three decades, exports account for just 15% of gross domestic product in India’s still relatively inward-looking economy.

Economists say this has partially shielded India from the worst global downturn since the 1930s Great Depression.

But the fall in exports has left some industries, such as garments and jewellery, reeling and created widespread job losses.