India crosses $400bn in exports for the first time


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday informed that India has achieved the target of 400 billion dollars of goods exports for the first time ever. “I congratulate our farmers, weavers, MSMEs, manufacturers, exporters for this success. This is a key milestone in our Aatmanirbhar Bharat journey,” Narendra Modi tweeted.

This was chiefly led by a sharp jump in exports of engineering and electronic goods,

On average, every hour USD 46 million goods are exported, USD 1 billion goods are exported every day and USD 33 billion every month.

The exports in the financial year 2020-21 were USD 292 billion while the exports in 2021-22 are USD 400 billion with a 37 percent rise.

Earlier in February, the Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal had said, “For 10 months in a row, continuously, from April 2021 to January 2022, India has posted over USD 30 billion of exports. We have already crossed USD 334 billion exports which is more than the highest ever that India had done earlier in a full 12-month period.”

On March 7, the Commerce and Industry Minister also said that India’s merchandise exports have reached USD 390 billion till March 14 of the current financial year and would certainly cross USD 400 billion during the year ending March 31, 2022.

Economists, however, cautioned that rising economic uncertainty from the Russia-Ukraine conflict could worsen the trade deficit and widen the current account deficit going forward as international oil prices are likely to remain elevated, while supply-side bottlenecks and rising freight costs could hurt exports.

“Engineering goods exports nearly jumped 50% over last year, electronic goods also jumped 41% last year. A huge jump was seen in the agricultural exports and non-basmati rice, wheat and marine products led the growth,” Santosh Kumar Sarangi, Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said during the press conference.

“We also drew up the very elaborate product country matrix. Even the smallest of countries very rarely left during the exercise. Over 200 countries were targeted and the states were taken along. We identified places where we had lost market and worked on them,” Sarangi said.

“Boosting exports is no longer just the job of the central government. Today Uttar Pradesh appointed a trade minister as they are recognizing their role,” Goyal said.

An official who did not want to be named said that in some areas commodity prices hike has played a role but there is evidence that exports have risen despite stable prices and in some cases despite a decline in prices.

“High commodity prices are embedded in export numbers and this has magnified the export figures,” ICRA Chief Economist Aditi Nayar said.

Former chief statistician Pronab Sen said that India could see exports rising in the coming months and much will depend on the value of the rupee. If the depreciation of the rupee continues the exporters will benefit and foreign portfolio investors could move their money elsewhere as Fed rates have already started rising.

“The value of imports is also going up and hence the trade deficit largely because of the higher oil prices but I suspect much of it is to do with trade restrictions from China. The value of imports tends to jump when we try to import from elsewhere,” Sen added.