India’s September exports down 2.15% in September, deficit at 5-month low

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Representational image
Representational image

India’s merchandise exports declined by 2.15 per cent in September on a year-on-year basis, even as the country’s merchandise trade deficit registered its lowest in last 5 months despite the currently high global crude oil prices, official data showed on Monday.

According to the data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the decline in exports was due to high base effect, with September 2017 “being an abnormally high growth month of about 26 per cent in US dollar terms due to the imminent cut off then for drawbacks at pre-GST rates”.

“This is a temporary out of trend phenomenon. Exporters continue to be resurgent, with their realised incomes having gone up by almost 10 per cent. October 2018 figures promise to be as per the ongoing six-month trend again,” the Ministry said in its review statement.

As per the data, petroleum products, organic and inorganic chemicals and drugs and pharmaceuticals commodity groups showed a high export growth during the month under review.

On the other hand, imports in September exhibited a positive growth of 10.45 per cent.

“Merchandise trade deficit is $13.98 billion in September 2018, the lowest in last 5 months, despite high oil prices,” the review statement said.

Commenting to the numbers, the Engineering Export Promotion Council of India (EEPC) said the decline in September exports shows that the sharp fall in rupee value has not helped exporters.

“Decline in India’s merchandise exports by 2.15 per cent in September shows that the rupee depreciation has not been of help in so far as the competitiveness of our shipments is concerned,” EEPC Chairman Ravi Sehgal said in a statement.

“We continue to bear high cost of raw material and interests, besides the uncertainties building around the tariff war between major economies of the world,” he added.