Exports contract 2% in December

 PTI   New Delhi     Last Updated: January 11, 2013  | 18:43 IST

Declining for the eighth month in row, exports contracted by 1.92 per cent in December 2012 to $24.8 billion, widening the country's trade deficit to $17.6 billion in the same month.

Exports in December 2011 stood at $25.3 billion.

The decline, however, is lower compared to November last year when the shipments had declined by 4.17 per cent, raising hopes of further improvement during the last quarter of the fiscal.

Imports, on the other hand, grew by 6.26 per cent to $42.5 billion in December, 2012.

During the April-December this fiscal, shipments have shrunk by 5.5 per cent to $214.1 billion compared to the same period last year. The contraction is slightly lower compared to about 6 per cent in the April-November period.

Commerce Secretary S R Rao said that the fall in exports have been slightly arrested and "with a new set of incentives, which we get into force from January 1, we expect that in the current quarter (January-March 2013), there will be a further improvement in the export performance".

He said the world trade has not performed well in 2012 and the year was the "worst" in terms of global trade.

"If we look at the WTO forecast for 2012, initially they forecast that the world trade will grow by 3.9 per cent but that has been scaled down thrice and it ended with 2.5 per cent. The 2012 rate of growth in the world trade has been less than half of past 20 year average," he said.

Reacting to fall in exports, Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A Sakthivel said the government should take some steps in the Budget to boost shipments.

Imports in the first nine months of this financial year dipped by 0.71 per cent to $361.2 billion. Trade deficit during the period stands at $147.2 billion up from $137.3 billion in the same period previous year.

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