MUMBAI (ICIS)--India’s merchandise exports have risen for the eleventh consecutive month, with October shipments surging by 43.0% year on year to $35.7bn amid recovering global demand.
Compared with pre-pandemic levels in October 2019, the country’s merchandise exports were up 35.9%, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed.
In the April-October 2021 period, total merchandise exports were up 55.1% year on year at $233.5bn, and nearly 26% higher compared with the same period in 2019, according to the data.
The growth was driven by higher demand for engineering goods, petroleum products, as well as organic and inorganic chemicals, among others.
October exports of petroleum products more than tripled to $5.3bn from $1.6bn in the same period last year, while those of organic and inorganic chemicals grew 41.9% to $2.6bn, and shipments of manmade fabrics and yarn increased by more than 29%
India’s exports have been rising since December 2020 due to recovery in key markets such as the US and the EU.
For the current fiscal year ending March 2022, India is targeting $400bn in merchandise exports, with data in the first seven months representing about 58% of the total.
To boost exports, the south Asian nation is currently in negotiations with the UAE, the UK, and Australia for possible bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs), according to commerce & industry minister Piyush Goyal.
India’s October trade deficit, however, widened to $19.73bn as imports increased at a faster pace of 62.5% than exports at $55.4bn in the lead-up to the Diwali festival.
Diwali or the Hindu Festival of Lights is a major holiday in India, which was observed in early November.
Imports of crude petroleum and products in October more than doubled to $14.4bn from $6.0bn in the same period last year.
For organic and inorganic chemicals, imports for the month increased by almost 68% to $2.6bn; while chemical materials and products imports showed a 50.3% increase, with intake of artificial resins and plastic materials grew 54% to 1.7bn.
October imports of fertilizers, on the other hand, registered a 28.8% year-on-year decline to $805m, official data showed.
Focus article by Priya Jestin
Photo: A group of United Nations armored vehicle awaiting transportation at a port during COVID-19 lockdown in Kolkata, India on 30 May 2021. (By Debarchan Chatterjee/NurPhoto/Shutterstock)