The country’s merchandise exports stood at a lowly USD 10.36 billion in April 2020, hit by the COVID-19 lockdown. Trade deficit in that month was USD 6.76 billion.
Imports too rose over three-fold to USD 45.72 billion last month as against USD 17.12 billion in April 2020.
In percentage terms, exports and imports grew by a record 195.72 per cent and 167 per cent respectively, mainly due to the low base effect.
Exports in April last year had plunged by a record 60.28 per cent due to the pandemic-induced nationwide lockdown.
In March this year, exports grew by 60.29 per cent to USD 34.45 billion.
In April 2021, oil imports stood at USD 10.8 billion as compared to USD 4.66 billion in the corresponding month last year, the data showed.
Non-oil imports during the month under review rose to USD 34.85 billion from USD 12.46 billion earlier.
Major export commodities which have recorded positive growth in April include gems and jewellery, jute, pharmaceuticals, carpet, handicrafts, leather, electronic goods, oil meals, cashew, engineering, petroleum products, marine products and chemicals.
Gold imports surged to USD 6.12 billion during the month under review as against USD 2.83 million in April 2020.
Major commodity groups which showed positive growth in imports in April 2021 over the corresponding month of last year include electronic goods, transport equipment, minerals, machinery, textile yarn fabric, vegetable oil and iron and steel.
Briefing reporters, Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan said India’s export performance continues to be impressive in April and the economic recovery is also visible in the rising imports.
“Foreign trade is recovering in a balanced manner,” he said, adding “we are confident that we can reach USD 400 billion in this year.”
Asked about any possible impact on shipments due to COVID-related restrictions being imposed by certain states, he said, “I do not see any major impact on our exports.”
Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Sharad Kumar Saraf said that the need of the hour is to soon notify the RoDTEP (Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products) rates to remove uncertainty from the minds of the trade and industry, thereby helping in further forging new contracts with overseas buyers.
Service exports are estimated at USD 21.17 billion in April, while imports stood at USD 13 billion.