Exports surge 35% to $16 bn in February
Indicating a revival in demand in western countries, India’s exports in February surged by 35%, giving hopes to the government to make up for the loss in previous months. Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said on Wednesday that from April 1, the government would give special incentives on 200 items for their export to US and Europe to make them more competitive. The items are mostly from sectors like electronics, engineering, agro products and apparel that continue to be in the red. Director General of Foreign Trade R S Gujral said estimated exports for the current fiscal (2009-10) was likely to be around $169 billion compared to $185 billion in the last fiscal. He said shipments during the April-February period remained in the negative domain showing a decline by 11% at $153 billion compared to $172 billion in the same period last fiscal. Gujral said in February, total exports were worth $16.09 billion compared to $11.94 billion in the same period last year, showing a growth of 34.8%. The commerce minister said rise in imports was much sharper indicating a revival in the local economy. He said it showed Indian corporates were spending more due to rise in demand. Imports rose by 66% to $25 billion in February against $15 billion in the corresponding month last fiscal. “It shows that the economy is picking up,” Sharma said. However, like in the case of exports, imports in the April-February period showed a decline of 13% to $248 billion compared to $287 billion in the first 11 months of last fiscal. Sectors like engineering goods, textiles, jute, carpets, handicrafts and leather continued to display poor performance. After continued fall for 13 months in a row since October 2008, exports re-entered the positive zone in November 2009. Demand in apparel exports declined by about 14% at $62 million in January 2010. In April-January 2009-10, garments exports was at $7.91 billion compared to $8.81 billion in the same period in the previous fiscal.