India's exports declined 8.74 per cent to $23.52 billion in the month of November, while imports fell by 13.32 per cent to $33.39 billion, as per the data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday. Exports segment contracted for the second consecutive month in November, sharper than a drop of 5.1 per cent in October, led by key sectors like petroleum, engineering, chemicals and gems and jewellery. Exports rose by 6 per cent in September after contracting for six months in a row.
With the contraction in export and import, the country's trade deficit hit a 10-month high of $9.9 billion in November.
In rupee terms, exports stood at Rs 1.75 lakh crore in November 2020, as compared to Rs 1.84 lakh crore in the year-ago period, registering a negative growth of 5.20 per cent. In rupee terms, imports declined by 9.96 per cent during the month to Rs 2.48 lakh crore versus Rs 2.75 lakh crore in November 2019.
Major commodity groups of export which showed negative growth in November 2020 over the corresponding month of last year were petroleum products (59.73 per cent), leather and leather products (29.8 per cent), cashew (24.53 per cent), plastic and linoleum (23.26 per cent), marine products (16.1 per cent), oil seeds (15.2 per cent), man-made yarn (11.06 per cent), engineering goods (8.12 per cent), organic and inorganic chemicals (8.06 per cent), and coffee (1.27 per cent).
Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in November 2020 stood at $19.29 billion, as compared to $19.37 billion in November2019, registering a negative growth of 0.40 per cent.
For April-November period of the current fiscal, exports dropped by 17.76 per cent to $173.66 billion, while imports declined by 33.55 per cent to $215.69 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $42 billion as compared to $113.42 billion in the same period last year.
Meanwhile, oil imports were $6.27 billion, 43.36 per cent lower compared to $11.07 billion in November 2019. Oil imports for April-November 2020-21 stood at $44.11 billion, which was 48.71 per cent lower compared to $85.99 billion over the same period last year. The global Brent price has decreased by 31.10 per cent in November 2020 versus November 2019, as per data available from World Bank.
Commenting on November trade data, Prahalthan Iyer, Chief General Manager, EXIM Bank, said, "The data shows the export activity is continuing the negative trend. However, the decline in non-oil non-gold imports is narrowing down. It may be interesting to note that in the month of September, the machinery and equipment import (an indicator of manufacturing capacity addition) witnessed a decline of 35.88 per cent, which improved to a decline of 15.55 per cent in October, and further improved in the month of November with a decline of 13.37 per cent.
The Christmas and New Year seasons demand from the key export markets might bring some positivity in export growth in December, Iyer added.
By Chitranjan Kumar