Exports fell to six-month low in April on anaemic demand

Goods trade deficit managed to hit a 20-month low despite a significant drop in exports, as a consequence of imports plummeting by a sharper 14% as discretionary demand shrinks

India’s merchandise exports shrank 12.7% in April to a six-month low of $34.66 billion but imports fell by a sharper 14% to hit $49.90 billion, as per initial estimates the Commerce Ministry released on Monday.

Consequently, the monthly goods trade deficit cooled 17% in April to touch a 20 month-low of $15.24 billion, from $18.35 billion a year earlier. Sequentially, outbound shipments fell 17.3% from March’s $41.9 billion, which was the highest exports level since June 2022.

Officials attributed the decline in exports to faltering demand in key markets and a decline in commodity prices. Director General of Foreign Trade and Additional Secretary Santosh Kumar Sarangi said the broader picture was that imports had declined sharply.

“Global demand is not looking good from markets like the EU and the U.S. For the next two, three months, the demand scenario doesn’t look very optimistic,” Mr. Sarangi told The Hindu, adding that the government would initiate inter-ministerial talks to find ways to sustain the export momentum.