Rising Re takes toll, exports grow 16%
INDIA’S exports grew by 16.04 per cent in December 2007 in dollar terms but managed a paltry rise of 2.54 per cent in rupee terms, as the domestic currency strengthened against the greenback. Exports went up to $12.31 billion in December 2007 amid exporters’ concerns over appreciation in rupee against the dollar. The local unit has risen more than 12 per cent against the US dollar in 2007. In rupee terms, exports were valued at Rs 48,569.64 crore, growing by just 2.54 per cent in December 2007. Imports during the month were valued at $17.68 billion, up 18.06 per cent, from $14.97 billion in December 2006. In rupee terms, imports increased by 4.31 per cent to Rs 69,731.56 crore in December. For the April-December period of 2007-08, India’s exports stood at $111.04 billion, registering a growth of 21.76 per cent from $91.2 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. The country’s trade deficit for April-December period of the current fiscal widened by about 35 per cent to $57.82 billion from $42.85 billion in the year-ago period. “The export figures are encouraging. The next three months - peak period for exporters - are likely to see exports in the range of 40 billion dollars,” Federation of Indian Export Organisations Director General Ajay Sahai told PTI. He said at the current rate, exports would be in the range of $145-150 billion for 2007-08, falling short of the $160 billion target set by the government. Commerce Secretary Gopal Pillai has maintained that India will be able to achieve exports worth $150 billion despite the slowdown in the US economy and the impact of rupee’s appreciation. “Exports of $150 billion are certain this year. If there is a surge, they could even go up to $155 billion,” Pillai had said. Sahai, however, said cut in the US interest rates would lead to further appreciation of the rupee which would impact exporters’ margins. The rupee has appreciated by about 15 per cent against the dollar in the last one year impacting export growth, particularly of labour intensive sectors such as textiles, leather, marine products and handicrafts. Imports for the April-December period of current fiscal grew 25.97 per cent to 168.87 billion dollars, compared to 134.05 billion dollars in the year-ago period, according to official data released here today. In rupee terms, exports grew by 7.74 per cent in April-December 2007, while imports were up by 11.54 per cent. Oil imports during December 2007 were valued at 5.96 billion dollars, up 23.78 per cent from 4.81 billion dollars in 2006. For the ninemonth period of the current fiscal, oil imports were to the tune of 49.31 billion dollars, 11.68 per cent higher than 44.15 billion dollars in the corresponding period of previous fiscal. Non-oil imports during December 2007 were 11.71 billion dollars, up 15.34 per cent from 10.15 billion dollars in December 2006. During April-December 2007, non-oil imports grew 32.99 per cent to 119.55 billion dollars as compared to 89.89 billion dollars in the same period of previous fiscal.