The coronavirus pandemic followed by stringent lockdowns has made India’s shrank by a record 60.28 per cent in the month of April, costing USD 10.36 billion.
According to the data by the commerce and industry ministry India’s imports too plunged by 58.65 per cent to USD 17.12 billion in April causing a trade deficit of USD 6.76 billion when compared to last year.
This is the lowest trade deficit since May 2016.
As per the ministry’s statement, “The decline in exports has been mainly due to the ongoing global shutdown, which got aggravated due to the current Covid-19 crisis. The latter resulted in large scale disruptions in supply chains and demand resulting in the cancellation of orders.”
Except for the iron ores and pharmaceuticals, all other 28 key sectors showed negative growth in the month under review.
Gems and jewelry shipments declined by 98.74 per cent, leather by 93.28 per cent, petroleum products by 66.22 per cent, engineering goods by 64.76 per cent, and chemicals by 42 per cent.
Oil imports in April 2020 were USD 4.66 billion, which was 59.03 per cent lower as compared to the same month in 2019.
Moreover, non-oil imports fell by 58.5 per cent, costing USD 12.46 billion in April 2020 and Gold imports stood at USD 2.83 million, as against USD 4 billion in April 2019.
FIEO President Sharad Kumar Saraf said that the worldwide lockdowns have not only pushed business sentiment to the lowest levels but it has also impacted supply chains and the most important economic growth.
“With major global players including the US, UK, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, Austria, Spain, and Bangladesh having provided bailout or financial packages to their industry to sail through these difficult times, it is also expected that the same would help in bringing good news for the overall international trade,” Saraf added.
He also connected low imports and exports with job losses as with cancellation of 70-80 per cent of orders leads to job losses and rising NPAs among exporting units.
He also advised the government to immediately implement the economic measures which are announced for the welfare of the workers at the ground level for the quick revival of the economy.