The Indian export sector started the last financial year badly, with exports falling by 6 percent in the very first month. By the end of the year the sector has distinctly reversed the trend, growing for seven months in a row since September last year.
Foreign trade figures released last week show an increase in exports by a whopping 27.6 percent, year-on-year, to $29.23 billion in March 2017. Cumulatively, for the April-March 2016-17 period, exports rose 4.71 percent to $274.64 billion compared to the previous financial year.
The pace of export growth in March is the fastest monthly growth in almost six years. More importantly all major sectors in 25 out of 30 major product groups, contributed in a major way to this growth. It is also interesting that exports of meat, poultry and dairy products registered 17 percent growth.
Imports, however, rose sharply by 45.25 percent to $39.66 billion in March, driven by gold, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones. According to some, this augurs well for gems and jewellery exports in coming months. Similarly, high imports of petroleum products is reflected in the higher exports of petrochemical products in March. It is also encouraging to see a robust 19.8 percent growth in non-oil, non-gold imports, indicating stronger domestic demand.