Exports rise in November, the first time this fiscal

Exports rise in November, the first time this fiscal

New Delhi: Merchandise exports rose in November for the first time this fiscal mostly because of the base effect as well as a revival in some sectors such as petrochemical products and gems and jewellery.

Exports increased to $13.2 billion (Rs61,512 crore) from $11.16 billion, up 18.28%, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar told reporters on Tuesday. However, exports for the April-November period are still lower than last year, having dropped 22.32% to $104.25 billion from $134.2 billion.

Khullar said steady export growth can only be expected from January onwards.

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“While this is good news, it is due to a large base effect. There is no great shift in demand. What happens in December and the last quarter of this fiscal (January-March) is crucial," he said. Though exports this year would be lower than last year’s level, “there is a fighting chance that exports will reach $165-170 billion this fiscal". India’s merchandise exports were $182.6 billion in 2008-09.

Exports started contracting in October last year in the wake of the global slowdown, when they registered a drop of 11.4%. The rate of decline in exports peaked in May at 39.2%, before it started moderating in the subsequent months.

The growth is an indication of exporters’ resilience and the positive impact of the government’s stimulus steps, said A. Sakthivel, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations.

“I hope the government will continue with the stimulus, particularly subvention of interest rates for exports," as they are set to rise, he said. “I expect exports to touch $165-170 billion by the end of this fiscal."

Khullar also said that the commerce ministry was carrying out a sectoral review of exports that will be completed by this month end. “In January, we will take stock of the situation," he said.

Earlier in the day, commerce minister Anand Sharma said that a decision on additional incentives to exporters impacted by falling demand would be taken after the review was completed.

(PTI contributed to this story.)

Graphics by Sandeep Bhatnagar/ Mint