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India’s merchandise exports hit $7.71 billion in the first week of June, raising expectations that they will remain buoyant for the fourth month in a row.

Exports have remained above $30 billion for three consecutive months starting March, when shipments hit a record $34.45 billion. Early recovery in the US and Europe due to the decline in coronavirus cases overseas and faster vaccination is fuelling demand for Indian goods. Exports are expected to support growth in FY22 by providing a cushion against the sharp correction in domestic demand due to cautious consumer sentiment on the back of rising health costs during the ongoing second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tentative data for the first week of June released by the commerce ministry on Wednesday showed exports grew 52.4% to $7.71 billion, while imports rose 82.91% to $9.1 billion. Non-petroleum exports increased by 49.35% while non-petroleum imports rose 72.8% during the same period.

Top countries to which exports increased include the US (59.9%), United Arab Emirates (57.9%) and Bangladesh (212%). Similarly, top countries from which imports rose include China (90.9%), US (89.4%) and UAE (164.5%).

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last week urged the government to provide enhanced and targeted policy support for exports, taking advantage of the rising external demand for Indian goods. “With external demand strengthening, a rebound in global trade is taking hold, which should support India’s export sector. Global demand conditions are expected to improve further buoyed by fiscal stimulus packages and the fast progress of vaccination in advanced economies. India’s exports in March, April and May 2021 have launched into an upswing... The need of the hour is for enhanced and targeted policy support for exports. It is opportune now to give further policy push by focusing on quality and scalability," RBI said in its latest monetary policy statement.

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