India’s merchandise exports contracted for the first time in two years, in October, as slowing external demand amid recession fears in the West started impacting shipments from the country, 

India’s trade deficit widened to $26.91 billion in October. The exports contracted by 16.65 per cent to $29.78 billion in October as compared to $35.4 billion in September, according to data released by the commerce ministry on Tuesday. 

In October 2021, the exports stood at $35.7 billion.

Imports during the month under review increased to $56.69 billion against $61.16 billion in September, 

In October 2021, imports stood at $53.64 billion.

It was in November 2020 when exports contracted last time, by 8.74 per cent. 

During October, 24 out of the 30 key export items showed contraction, while only six electronic goods, rice, tea, oil seeds, oil meals, and tobacco witnessed growth, the data showed. 

Contraction in key commodity groups such as engineering goods (-21.3 per cent), gems and jewellery (-21.6 per cent), chemicals (-16.4 per cent), and readymade garments (-21.2 per cent) dragged down the overall exports.

Non-petroleum, non-gems and jewellery exports — considered to be core exports –declined by 20.4 per cent to $26.25 billion in October.

slowdown splco .jpg
In response Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal pointed out that both global as well as domestic factors had had an impact on India’s exports.

During April-October, exports recorded a growth of 12.55 per cent to $263.35 billion. 

Imports rose 33.12 per cent to $436.81 billion, as per the data.

In September, India’s trade deficit was recorded at $26.72 billion. It was lower than $28.68 billion in August. 

However, it had widened to over $4 billion from $22.47 billion in September 2021.

In the first half of FY22, between April and September, the deficit was $149.47 billion. 

This was nearly double the $76.25 billion deficit recorded in the subsequent period in 2021.

The exports in April-September stood at $229.05 billion. It was 15.54 per cent higher than $198.25 billion in the first six months of FY22.

The imports had risen 37.89 per cent from $274.5 billion in the first half of FY22 to $378.5 billion in the first half of FY23.