India’s exports surge to 11-month high in Feb despite Red Sea crisis

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) India’s merchandise exports surged to an 11-month high in February to touch the $41.4 billion mark despite the disruption in ship movement due to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea region, data released by the Commerce Ministry on Friday showed.

The main drivers of the 11.86 per cent year-on-year jump in exports in February this year include engineering goods, electronic goods, organic & inorganic chemicals, drugs & pharmaceuticals and petroleum products. Engineering Goods recorded a robust increase of 15.9 per cent at $9.94 billion over $8.58 billion in February 2023.

Electronic goods exports registered an increase of 54.81 per cent at $3 billion in February 2024 over $1.94 billion in February 2023.

Exports of organic and inorganic chemicals increased by 33.04 per cent from $2.22 billion in February 2023 to $2.95 billion in February 2024.

Similarly, exports of drugs and pharmaceutical products during the month shot up to $2.51 billion which is an increase of 22.24 per cent over $2.06 billion in February 2023 while the export of petroleum products registered a growth of 5.08 per cent at $8.24 billion.

Exports of agricultural products including tobacco also did well to record a 58.24 per cent growth.

The overall trade deficit has improved by 37.80 per cent from $116.13 billion in April-February 2022-23 to $72.24 billion in April-February 2023-24.

The merchandise trade deficit fell by 8.43 per cent from $245.94 billion in April-February 2022-23 to $225.20 billion in April-February 2023-24.

The lower trade deficit reflects stronger macroeconomic fundamentals and will strengthen the rupee.

The increase in exports has come despite the geopolitical crisis in the Red Sea region due to which ships now have to be sent along the longer route via the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa which has led to an increase in transport costs.

This has also slowed the overall movement of goods. Around 80 per cent of India’s goods trade with Europe, estimated at nearly $14 billion a month, normally passes via the Red Sea, according to the government data. These goods now have to traverse an around 5,000 additional nautical miles on the longer route via Africa which takes another 15 days or so.

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