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Engg goods, jewellery boost exports

G. Srinivasan

New Delhi , Aug. 16

THE 20.36 per cent export growth in dollar terms achieved in 2003-04 was largely due to the relatively robust performance by traditional merchandise goods such as engineering goods, gems and jewellery, chemicals and related products, besides a reasonably salutary show by agriculture and allied products and a moderate growth in textile exports.

Complete trade figures compiled by the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence & Statistics (DGCI&S), Kolkata, on a provisional basis show that the country's aggregate exports during 2003-04, the second year of the Tenth Plan, amounted to $63,456.56 million against $52,719.43 million in the previous year.

Among the traditional items, the best show was by engineering goods, which with a weight of 16.41 per cent in total exports notched up a growth of 35.44 per cent at $4,801.43 million in 2003-04 against $3,463.13 million in the previous year.

This is followed by chemicals and related products (weight: 15.43 per cent) registering a growth of 24.60 per cent at $9,791.47 million against $7,853.33 million in 2002-03. Gems and jewellery (16.56 per cent) logged a growth of 16.39 per cent at $10,509.79 million against $9,029.94 million in 2002-03.

Textile exports, which suffered heavily in 2002-03, recovered ground last year by posting a moderate growth of 8.02 per cent at $1,1970 million against $11,081.14 million, but still well below the target of $13.5 billion fixed for 2003-04.

By far, the best show was put on by petroleum products exports (5.54 per cent) as they were up by a hefty 36.56 per cent at $3,518.52 million last year against $2,576.54 million in 2002-03. Unclassified exports (4.06 per cent) also grew by 115.40 per cent at $2,574.71 million against $1,195.31 million. Electronics goods exports also marked a reasonably sound show by posting a growth of 34.36 per cent at $1,739.32 million against $1,294.56 million.

A freak phenomenon in the foreign trade is the massive rise in export of raw cotton, including waste and a substantial spurt in import of the same during 2003-04. While raw cotton including waste export fetched $176.59 million last year against a mere $10.39 million in 2002-03, import of raw cotton including waste during 2003-04 cost $341.67 million against $255.73 million in 2002-03.

Item-wise low growth in export was accounted for by tea, leather and manufactures, readymade garments and export, while a distinct decline in export growth could be detected in the case of rice, pulses, spices, cashew, marine products, handicrafts, cotton, yarn, fabrics and made-ups.

Destination-wise, exports to Asia and Oceania which absorbed a considerable chunk of 46.35 per cent in total exports did exceedingly well by registering a growth of 29.40 per cent at $29,408.08 million during 2003-04 against $22,726.28 million in 2002-03. Exports to West Europe, which account for a share of 24.02 per cent in overall exports, also grew by recording a growth of 21.36 per cent at $13,816.54 million against $12,557.89 million.

India's exports to the Americas, which absorb 21.10 per cent of the country's total exports, grew by a tepid 3.40 per cent at $13,391.76 million, against $12,951 million in 2002-03, reflecting the weak economic recovery of the industrial world throughout most of last year. Though East Europe holds a minuscule 0.82 per cent of India's exports, this region posted the best growth of 57 per cent at $523.09 million, against $333.20 million in 2002-03.

On the import front, bulk imports, which accounts for a share of 37.87 per cent in the country's aggregate imports, posted a growth of 21.86 per cent at $29,175.98 million, against $23,941.32 million in the previous year. Petroleum, crude and products imports, which account for a hefty share of 26.70 per cent in overall imports, posted a growth of 16.61 per cent at $20,569.60 million against $17,639.52 million in the previous year. Machinery imports (9.25 per cent) grew by 17.58 per cent at $7,128.31 million against $6,062.76 million, while import of edible oils surged by a massive 40.04 per cent at $2,540.60 million against $1,814.15 million in 2002-03.

Imports of electronic goods (9.73 per cent) also grew by a whopping 33.86 per cent at $7,495.52 million against $5,599.41 million in 2002-03, while import of gold and silver (8.85 per cent) registered a huge 58.98 per cent at $6,817.37 million against $4,288.25 million in 2002-03.

Overall, imports during 2003-04 amounted to $77,032.77 million against $61,412.14 million in 2002-03, showing a growth of 25.44 per cent.

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