Exports at $16.9 billion in April

India’s merchandise shipments rose over 36% to $16.88 billion in April, marking the sixth straight month of growth for exports but prospects of a European debt crisis hitting order books once again is robbing sheen off the sector’s performance. Last April, exports had shrunk nearly 30% to $12.4 billion as orders from the West and other major markets dried up in the wake of the worst recession in 60 years. Going forward, however, the European debt crisis may weigh on outbound shipments, even though India’s trade exposure to Greece is limited.The European Union generally accounts for about 20% of India’s exports. Market analysts, however, warned the recovery in exports should be viewed in the backdrop of the dismal performance last year which gives a low-base effect. As the impact of low base peters off in the coming months some moderation in exports can be expected in the second half of the fiscal. Before turning positive in November 2009, the country’s merchandise shipments had contracted for 13 months in a row since October 2008. Reflecting a growing domestic demand, imports too increased in April by 43.3% to $27.3 billion from $19.05 billion a year ago. Trade deficit for April was $10.4 billion, against $6.7 billion in the year-ago period. At $176.5 billion, exports contributed about 17% of the country’s GDP. Non-oil imports increased by 34.3% in the opening month of the current fiscal. Oil imports increased to $8.08 billion, against $4.74 billion in April last year. India’s economy grew by 8.6% in the last quarter of 2009-10 despite slow recovery in several developed countries.

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