India’s merchandise exports fell by 1.1 per cent in October. However, some large export items, such as gems and jewelry, chemicals, engineering goods and pharmaceuticals, grew. Readymade garment exports, for instance, fell by 2.1 per cent and petroleum products by 14.6 per cent. Gems and jewelry exports, however, grew by 6.02 per cent, chemicals 0.86 per cent, engineering goods 1.2 per cent and pharmaceuticals by 12.6 per cent.
Imports fell for the fifth month in a row. These include imports of coal, petroleum, chemicals, plastic materials, precious stones, iron and steel and electronic goods. However, gold imports picked up. The only silver lining signaling a probable revival in domestic investment activity was the fall in imports of electrical and non-electrical machinery and of transport equipment.
During the first seven months of the fiscal, exports contracted 2.2 per cent. A weakening external sector will put additional pressure on India’s growth, as GDP slowed to a six-year low of five per cent in the first quarter while consumption fell to a 18-quarter low.
Because of escalating trade tensions and a slowing global economy world merchandise trade volumes are now expected to rise just 1.2 per cent in 2019. Downside risks remain high. China’s October exports fell for the third straight month, down 0.9 per cent, while imports shrank for the sixth consecutive month.