It has been reported by the commerce Ministry that country’s exports had jumped by 58.23 per cent to $34 billion in March, the highest ever to be reached in a month. This comes after key sectors like engineering, gems and jewelry and pharmaceuticals had recorded healthy growth rate during the month.
Though, the month of March showed positive export jump, the data additionally showed that exports during April-March 2020-21, dipped by 7.4 per cent to $290.18 billion compared to $313.36 billion in 2019-20.
It is to be noted that in March 2020, the exports stood at $21.49 billion, showing a decline of about 34 per cent from March 2019. The reason can be attributed to the global slowdown induced by the Covid-19 crisis. The exports also plummeted due to a steep decline in shipments of leather, gems and jewelry and petroleum products, dragging the total exports in 2019-20 down.
The Merchandise exports in March 2020 had stood at $21.41 billion which was again down by 34.57 per cent compared to $32.72 billion in the same month last year. Imports too had reportedly contracted by 28.72 per cent to $31.16 billion in march last month. The decline in march 2020 was the steepest decline since November 2015, when imports declined by 30.26 per cent. Thus, exports jump of 58.23% in march 2021 presents a stark contrast to the previous contraction.
The ministry in its statement said that , “India’s merchandise exports in March 2021 were $34.0 billion as compared to $21.49 billion in March 2020, an increase of 58.23 per cent,”. The ministry maintained that “first time ever in a month”, exports have crossed $34 billion mark.
Additionally, imports too rose by 52.89 per cent to $48.12 billion as against $31.47 billion in March 2020. This is a positive indicator of growth for the economy as imports in India mainly constitute of capital goods and raw materials which are used as inputs in the production of goods in the economy. Thus, with the rise in imports, it can be said that the economic activity in India is on a rise.
Additionally, the trade deficit during the month widened to $14.12 billion as against $9.98 billion in March 2020.
Inspite of the burgeoning oil prices in the world market, Oil imports grew by 1.22 per cent to $10.17 billion in March. It had been reported, that oil imports had dipped by 37 per cent to $82.25 billion. This slump in demand for oil imports had come as travel across and within the countries was banned. This had led OPEC to devise the policy of curtailing the oil supply in the market, so as to maintain its high prices.
Non-oil imports in March were up to $37.95 billion. During the full fiscal, the imports contracted by 10.89 per cent to $306.67 billion. Complementary to petroleum and non-petroleum import surge, gold too saw a surge as imports jumped to $7.17 billion during the month of March.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet stated that “Make in India, make for the World: Merchandise exports in March Merchandise exports in March 2021 grew by 58 per cent year-on-year to $34 billion, the highest ever in Indian history. PM @NarendraModi ji’s policies have propelled Indian economy to historic new heights, despite the pandemic”.
Federation of Indian Exports Organizations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahai also maintained that despite issues related with container shortage and stagnation of ships at Suez Canal, the exports have crossed $290 billion. He stated that, “It is extremely good growth looking into COVID-19 challenges,”.
“Such a whopping growth in exports during the month also helped in taking the merchandise exports to over $290 billion during such difficult and torrid times,” he added.