NEW DELHI: Facing flak for 12 straight months of decline in exports, the government today said there is “no crisis” in India on the export front and there is “no need for alarm”.
“There is no crisis in India on the export front and while there is a need for caution, there is no need for alarm,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.
The statement follows criticism by the Congress last month that India’s exports dropped by a whopping 45 per cent despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi making 30 foreign visits in 18 months.
The statement said that a general sense of alarm has been generated by the publication of figures of India’s exports in the recent months.
Contraction in exports continued for the 12th month in a row in November which saw 24.43 per cent decline in merchandise shipments to USD 20.01 billion amid a global demand slowdown.
Cumulatively during April-November 2015-16, the outward shipments dipped by 18.46 per cent at USD 174.30 billion as against USD 213.77 billion in the same period last year.
It said that a closer look at the trade figures gives a satisfactory explanation for “divergence” in these figures.
Petroleum product exports have fallen by 52 per cent due to steep decline in crude oil prices, it said, adding “if exports of petroleum products are excluded, then the decline in exports is only 9.6 per cent in dollars”.
Similarly, it said export of gems and jewellery products have fallen by 9.5 per cent.
“In this case also there is a significant decline in raw material price, namely, gold. Hence the decline in exports in these categories are a reflection of changing import prices,” it added.
“Thus the basic picture emerging is that excluding petroleum and gems and jewellery, India’s exports have not declined significantly,” it added.
While several sectors have shown a decline, it said some have shown increases such as ready-made garments of all textiles, carpets, handicrafts, pharmaceuticals and tea.
Further the statement said that the nominal decline must be compared with the rate of inflation.
For the purpose of measuring the real value of exports which are essentially wholesale transactions, it is the WPI rather than the Consumer Price Index which is more relevant, it said.
“When the export figure in rupees is compared with the average negative WPI inflation rate of (-) 3.3 per cent, the fall in exports in real terms is likely to be negligible in volume terms,” it added.
It said the fall in exports has to be viewed in the context of sluggish global trade volumes.
“If the drop in export is resulting in increased current account deficit or/and reduction in growth of GDP then there could be a need for alarm,” it said.