In accordance with the figures released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Indian exports of goods decreased by 34.57% to $21.41 billion due to COVID-19 spread which has interrupted the production and supply chains. With this, the overall export for FY 2019-20 declined by 4.78% to $314.31 billion. This is likely to be the steepest fall in monthly exports since 2008-09, when shipments dipped by 33.3% in March 2009.
- Effect on Imports: The COVID-19 not only affected exports but it impacted imports also as in March 2020 they were severely declined by 28.72% to $31.16 billion which resulted in overall FY 19-20 import declined by 9.12% to $467.19 billion. The downward revision in March was the steepest decline since November 2015, when imports declined by 30.26%.
–Merchandise exports: In it March stood at $21.41 billion, down by 34.57% compared to $32.72 billion in the same month last year.
–Trade deficit: It narrowed to $9.76 billion as compared to $11 billion in March 2019. Overall trade deficit in 2019-20 was lowered at $152.88 billion compared to the trade gap in 2018-19 at $184 billion. Trade deficit is the difference between imports and exports.
–Oil import: In April-March 2019-20 it decreased by 8.15% to $129.43 billion.
–Non-oil imports: They declined by 9.49% to $337.76 billion during FY 19-20.
Sectors facing Decline in export/import:
Fall in exports in March 2020: Petroleum products, readymade garments, engineering goods, gems and jewellery, leather products, coal and other minerals, plastic and linoleum, carpets and handicrafts. Export of agricultural commodities such as oil meals, meat and poultry, dairy products, tea and other cereals also posted a steep decline during the month.
- Fall in export in FY 19-20: Petroleum (8.10 per cent), handicrafts (2.36 per cent), cotton yarn/fabrics (10.67 per cent), engineering (5.87 per cent), gems and jewellery (11 per cent) and leather (9.64 per cent). Tea, coffee, rice, tobacco and cashew sectors too recorded negative growth in 2019-20.
Fall in import in FY 19-20: Gold, silver, electronic goods, transport equipment, machine tools, iron and steel, coal, petroleum and chemicals.
Q1 FY21 remains sluggish:
The first quarter of 2020-21 will also face a similar downward trend and nominal growth may start only from the second quarter depending on the COVID-19 impact in the international market. As of now international trade, except in medicine and essential supplies, has come to a near halt.
About Ministry of Commerce and Industry:
Union Minister– Piyush Goyal
Minister of State (MoS) Commerce and Industry– Hardeep Singh Puri, Som Parkash