Exports up 6.9% in March, declines 1.7% in 2012-13

ExportsExports in March stood at $30.8 billion compared to $28.8 billion in the same month of previous year. (Reuters)

Reflecting some recovery in the global markets, India's exports grew for the third month in a row, rising by 6.97 per cent in March though on annual basis it declined 1.76 per cent to USD 300.6 billion in 2012-13.

Exports in March stood at USD 30.8 billion compared to USD 28.8 billion in the same month of previous year.

Imports dipped by 2.87 per cent to USD 41.16 billion in March, leaving a trade deficit of USD 10.31 billion from USD 13.5 billion in March last year. In January, it had widened to USD 20 billion, the second highest figure ever in a month.

However, for 2012-13, the trade deficit grew to USD 190.91 billion as against USD 183.3 billion in the previous fiscal.

With a view to boost exports, the government announced several measures in foreign trade policy (FTP) including extension of the popular EPCG scheme to all sectors and sops for Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Exports had entered positive zone after a gap of eight months in January when it recorded a growth of 0.82 per cent.

Commerce Secretary S R Rao said exports are gradually picking up and hoped the current trend will continue.

"Export performance has started picking up. For March, the export performance has picked by a slightly robust figure as compared to the previous two months. We do expect this trend to continue and we would like to consolidate," Rao said.

He said if the current trend continued, India's exports is expected to grow by about 10 per cent this fiscal.

"...I should assume a minimum of 10 per cent (growth) if trend continues...," he added.

On trade deficit, Rao said that it has come down slightly "which is a good news. Given a very weak performance for major part of the year, I think in the last 3-4 months, we really covered a good deal of ground which is not sufficient but certainly there is progress in exports".

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