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Traditional items push export growth in H1

G. Srinivasan

NEW DELHI, Dec. 30

TRADITIONAL export items like textiles, chemical and related products, engineering goods, gems and jewellery and ores and minerals which together constitute 72 per cent of the country's aggregate exports did exceedingly well during the first half of the current fiscal, pushing the overall export growth rate to 19 per cent, against 17.51 per cent reported a couple of months ago.

Official sources told Business Line that the disaggregated trade data for the first half of the current fiscal, after factoring in late entries from customs and other trade points, showed that aggregate exports during April to September 2002 amounted to $25,074.68 million, against $21,133.44 million in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, logging a growth rate of 18.65 per cent. On November 1, 2002, the usual official trade data (preliminary) put the export proceeds at $23,974.30 million ($21123.6 million) for the first half the current fiscal.

Gems and jewellery with a weight of 17.73 in total exports recorded a growth of 32.66 per cent during the period under review at $4,446.09 million ($3,351.58 million), while chemicals and related products (14.50 per cent weight) registered a growth of 17.32 per cent at $3,636.93 million ($3099.88 million).

While exports of textiles (21.49 per cent) grew by 10.51 per cent during April-September 2002 at $5,388.48 million ($4,875.80 million), exports of engineering goods (13.28 per cent) notched up a growth of 20.86 per cent at $3,329.68 million ($2,754.88 million). Though ores and minerals account for a minuscule 3.84 per cent in total exports, their exports marked an exponential growth of 75 per cent at $963.33 million ($550.74 million).

However, the laggards on the export front continue to be the plantation sector, leather and manufactures, electronic goods. Destination-wise, exports boomed in both Asia and Oceania and the Americas as together these two regions account for 66 per cent of total exports.

Asia and Oceania, which account for 40.56 per cent in the country's exports, registered a robust 25.25 per cent growth at $10,171.45 million ($8,120.66 million), those to the Americas (24.98 per cent) grew by a 25.05 per cent at $6,264.06 million ($5,009.41 million). Exports to West Europe, which account for 23.39 per cent in total exports, also grew strongly by 14.08 per cent at $5,864.78 million ($5,140.92 million).

Though Latin America occupies a meagre share of 2.69 per cent in exports, export growth to this region was by far the highest at 39 per cent, with exports amounting to $673.49 million ($484.99 million).

On the import front, bulk imports, with a weight of 40.86 per cent in total imports logged a growth of 8.23 per cent at $11,665.84 million ($10,778.81 million). Import of machinery (8.69 per cent weight) registered a relatively superior rate of 21.47 per cent at $2,479.87 million ($2,041.47 million), reflecting the higher industrial performance during the first half of the current fiscal.

A matter of particular interest is the continuing decline in the import of gold and silver, with a weight of 6.65 per cent in overall imports notched up a negative growth of 27.54 per cent at $1,898.29 million ($2,619.87 million).

Overall, total imports during April to September 2002 amounted to $28,549.41 million ($26,061.99 million), marking a growth rate of 9.54 per cent. This is contrast to the growth rate of 8.49 per cent at $28,277.41 million, against $26065.47 million as reported in the preliminary count released on November 1, 2002.

Destination-wise, imports from West Europe (weight 24.84 per cent) grew 6.71 per cent at $7,090.88 million ($6,645.14 million). Imports from Asia and Oceania (27.91 per cent weight) also registered a moderate growth of 6.70 per cent during the period under review at $7,968.30 million ($7,468.02 million). However, imports from the Americas (9.36 per cent) grew by 10.76 per cent at $2672.59 million ($2,412.95 million).

It is also interesting to note that Africa has emerged as a big source of imports with India's imports from this region accounting for 5.42 per cent share in total imports marking a growth rate of 16.21 per cent at $1548.62 million ($1,332.58 million).

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