Exports rise 19 % in first quarter

By agencies   |   Tuesday, 19 July 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Maintaining the momentum of high growth recorded in the initial two months of the current fiscal, the country's exports clocked a robust 19.04 percent growth at $7,110.96 million in June 2005, as against $5,973.68 million during June 2004.

Even as the country's exports during the first quarter of the current fiscal from April to June 2005 were higher by 19.54 percent at $20,900.31 million than $17,483.26 million during April-June 2004, the country's trade deficit breached the $10-billion mark in the quarter for the first time as import growth also galloped.

Imports during June 2005 at $11,101.23 million were up by close to 30 percent over $8,540.70 million in June 2004. Imports during the period April to June 2005 at $32,360.13 million showed an increase of 38.02 percent over $23,445.70 million in the corresponding period last year.

Oil imports during the first quarter are valued at $9,598.33 million, 33.16 percent higher than $7,207.90 million in the corresponding period last year. Non-oil imports are valued at $22,761.75 million, which is 40.18 percent higher than $16,237.80 million in April to June 2004-05.

Trade experts attribute higher oil imports more to price effect as the global crude prices hardened than to any pronounced pick up in domestic consumption, even as the Government dithered for quite a long time in adjusting petro-product prices. They however cite the substantial growth in non-oil import as a sign of heightened demand for imported items particularly machinery and export production which would get reflected in the manufacturing sector growth.

Officials in the Commerce Ministry say that the export boom is across products and countries and traditional items such as textiles, gems and jewellery, chemicals and related products and petroleum products exports have done exceedingly well, though a clearer picture at the disaggregated level is yet to be arrived at.

As a result of relatively robust export growth and a higher import growth, the country's trade deficit during the first quarter of the current fiscal is estimated at $11,459.82 million, which is far higher than the deficit of $5,962.44 million during April to June 2004-05.

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