India’s exports entered negative territory after a gap of about two years, declining sharply by 16.65 per cent to USD 29.78 billion in October, mainly due to global demand slowdown, even as trade deficit widened to USD 26.91 billion, according to data released by the commerce ministry on Tuesday.
Key export sectors, including gems and jewellery, engineering, petroleum products, ready-made garments of all textiles, chemicals, pharma, marine products, and leather, recorded negative growth during October.
Imports during the month under review rose by about 6 per cent to USD 56.69 billion on account of increase in the inbound shipments of crude oil and certain raw materials such as cotton, fertiliser and machinery.
During April-October 2022, exports recorded a growth of 12.55 per cent to USD 263.35 billion. Imports rose 33.12 per cent to USD 436.81 billion. The merchandise trade deficit for April-October 2022 was estimated at USD 173.46 billion as against USD 94.16 billion in April-October 2021, as per the data. Trade deficit in October 2021 was USD 17.91 billion. Last time it was in November 2020, when exports contracted by 8.74 per cent. Briefing media, Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal said that global headwinds are impacting consumption worldwide and that would have an impact on India’s exports as well.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has projected that the global trade growth will rise by 3.5 per cent in 2022 but only one per cent in 2023. India’s share in global merchandise trade is 1.8 per cent and in global services, it is 4 per cent, and there is a lot of potential to increase this, he said.
“We should not be depressed by the WTO forecast,” the secretary said, adding monetary tightening in the US and Europe is impacting demand globally. He also said that a lot of India's exports have imported inputs like in the pharmaceuticals and there are also some seasonal effects on trade.