Contracting for the third straight month, India’s exports slipped marginally by 0.8 per cent to $ 26.89 billion in December 2020, due to decline in sectors like petroleum, leather, and marine products, as per the government data. The trade deficit in December widened to $15.71 billion, as imports grew by 7.6 per cent to $ 42.6 billion, according to the preliminary data released by the commerce ministry on Saturday. Exports in December 2019 were $ 27.11 billion, while imports stood at $ 39.5 billion. In November 2020, exports were down by 8.74 per cent. In April-December 2020-21, the country’s merchandise exports contracted by 15.8 per cent to $ 200.55 billion, as compared to $ 238.27 billion in the same period last fiscal.
Imports during the nine months of the current fiscal declined by 29.08 per cent to $ 258.29 billion, as against $ 364.18 billion in April-December 2019-20. “India is thus a net importer in December 2020, with a trade deficit of $ 15.71 billion, as compared to a trade deficit of $12.49 billion, widened by 25.78 per cent,” the ministry said in a statement. In December 2020, oil imports declined by 10.37 per cent to $ 9.61 billion. During April-December this fiscal, the imports dipped by 44.46 per cent to $ 53.71 billion, it added.
Major commodities of export which have recorded positive growth during the month under review include Oil meals (192.60 per cent), Iron ore (69.26 per cent), Carpet (21.12 per cent), pharmaceuticals (17.44 per cent), spices (17.06 per cent), electronic goods (16.44 per cent), fruits and vegetables (12.82 per cent), and chemicals (10.73 per cent).
The other commodities in the positive terrain include cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, handloom products (10.09 per cent), rice (8.60 per cent), meat, dairy and poultry products (6.79 per cent), gems and jewellery (6.75 per cent), tea (4.47 per cent), and engineering goods (0.12 per cent).