NEW DELHI: Pulled down by a sharp fall in exports value of petroleum products, the country’s merchandise exports contracted by 15.82 per cent, falling for the seventh consecutive month, at $22.28 billion in June compared to $26.47 billion in the same month of the previous year due to global economic slowdown.
The last time exports registered a positive growth was in November 2014 when shipments expanded at a rate of 7.27 per cent. For the month under review, petroleum products exports declined 53 per cent at $ 2.9 billion.
Meanwhile, merchandise exports for the first quarter came in at $66.70 billion, which was 16.75 per cent lower than $80.11 billion recorded in same period last year.
Imports, too, declined by 13.40 per cent to $ 33.11 billion in June 2015 due to fall in oil and gold shipments. Trade deficit narrowed to $10.82 billion in the month under review compared with $11.76 billion in June 2014, according to the data released by the commerce ministry on Wednesday.
The main exporting sectors which reported negative growth include petroleum products (about 53 per cent), engineering (about 5.5 per cent), leather and leather goods (about 5 per cent), and chemicals (1.26 per cent) in June.
“It is matter of serious and grave concern as the decline is continuing. The government should immediately engage with the stakeholders to understand the reason behind decline and take steps to overcome the situation,” Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President S C Ralhan said.
Exporters expressed serious concerns over the continuous decline and said the government should act fast in taking measures to help arrest the dip.
The prime reason continues to be low prices of crude, metal and commodity, and slowdown in western markets, he said.
Also, oil imports dropped 34.97 per cent in June to $8.67 billion. Non-oil imports too came down by 1.85 per cent to $24.44 billion.
Gold imports too dipped by almost 37 per cent to $1.96 billion in June.
During April-June, exports fell 16.75 per cent to $66.69 billion. Imports too declined 12.61 per cent to $98.91 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $32.22 billion.
In March 2015, exports had contracted 21 per cent, the biggest fall in a month in the last six years.
Services exports Down 9% in May
Services exports declined by 9 per cent to $11.87 billion in May this year compared to the previous month. Services exports were worth $13.01 billion in April. The value of services imports also declined to $ 6.31 billion in May, from $7.32 billion in the previous month, according to the Reserve Bank of India data released on Wednesday. The services sector contributes over 60 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product. RBI releases the provisional aggregate monthly data on India’s international trade in services with a lag of 45 days. Services export in 2014-15 stood at $167.01 billion down 4 per cent over the year-ago period while imports were at $88.19 billion, up 3.8 per cent over 2013-14 fiscal.