India’s exports recorded a slight contraction of 0.25 per cent after rising in January 2021 by a healthy 5.37 per cent. This marks the return of the contractionary cycle after a brief growth spurt recorded last month. The preliminary data shows that India’s merchandise exports stood at $ 27.67 billion as compared to $ 27.74 billion in February 2020, a decrease of 0.25 per cent.
The month of February, however, was good for imports as it registered a growth of nearly 7 percent at 6.98 per cent and stood at $ 40.55 billion as compared to $ 37.90 billion in February 2020. The growth in imports has resulted in widening the trade deficit in the country. As per the preliminary data, trade deficit was recorded $ 12.88 billion, as compared to the trade deficit of $ 10.16 billion in February 2020, up by 26.74 per cent. This makes the country a net importer.
In February 2021, the value of non-petroleum exports was $ 25.16 billion, registering a positive growth of 3.55 per cent as against February 2020. The value of non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in February 2021 was $ 22.48 billion as compared to $ 21.28 billion in February 2020, registering a positive growth of 5.65 per cent.
In February 2021, Oil imports stood at $ 8.99 billion, as compared to $ 10.78 billion in February 2020, a decline by 16.63 per cent. Oil imports in April-February2020-21 were $ 72.08 billion, as compared to $ 120.50 billion, showing a decline of 40.18 per cent.
The top 5 commodity groups of export which recorded positive growth during February 2021 vis-à-vis February 2020 are: Other Cereals (542.06 per cent), Oil meals (244.12 per cent), Iron Ore (167.79 per cent), Jute manufacturing including floor covering (45.40 per cent), and Rice (30.10 per cent).
On the other hand, the top 5 commodity groups of import which showed a decline in February 2021 vis-à-vis February 2020 are: Silver (-91.55 per cent), Newsprint (-80.76 per cent), Fertilisers, Crude & manufactured (-46.01 per cent), Coal, Coke & Briquettes, etc. (-28.09 per cent), and Leather & leather products (-26.75 per cent).
The top five commodity groups of imports that showed a positive growth are: Major commodity groups of import showing positive growth in February 2021 over the corresponding month of last year are: Sulphur & Unroasted Iron Pyrites (235.96 per cent), Gold (123.95 per cent), Dyeing/tanning/colouring materials (46.38 per cent), Chemical material & products (45.51 per cent) and Electronic goods (37.77 per cent).