The national economy, which is moving at a sluggish pace for quite a time, had something to cheer for on Wednesday, as a report showed that exports grew by double-digits for the first time in seven months in May, mainly helped by a healthy growth in engineering, petroleum products and garments.

The data released by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry on Wednesday showed that India’s exports in May rose to USD 28 billion, an increase of 12.4 percent from the previous year as it was just USD 24.9 billion in May, 2013.

The imports, on the other hand, fell 11.4 percent to USD 39.23 billion, the report showed.

This led to the narrowing of trade deficit to USD 11.23 billion during the review month from last year’s USD 19.37 billion. Despite the slide, the figures for May were at a 10-month high in the current fiscal year. The trade deficit for April was USD 10.1 billion.

In the first two months of the current fiscal year, exports grew 8.87 percent to USD 53.63 billion. Imports during the April-May period dipped 13.16 percent to USD 74.95 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 21.3 billion.

While talking to reporters, Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said, "This is definitely an encouraging sign. It is for the first time in seven months that the exports registered a double-digit growth. If this trend continues, the economy will definitely revive from the slowdown.”

Kher, however, clarified that the appreciating rupee was not a factor in the double-digit export growth.

"With these positive sentiments, I am waiting for the next month. If the trend continues, then I will definitely be saying that there is a revival, "he said.

On being asked about the export target set for 2014-15, he said, "We are working towards something like USD 1 billion exports on a daily basis. With that pace, our target for this financial year is USD 365 billion."

Gold imports fall 72 percent in May

The gold imports witnessed a steep decline in May and it fell 72 percent to USD 2.19 billion last month. It was recorded USD 7.7 billion last year.

Analysts say that the restrictions on gold import had an impact on the export of gems and jewellery heavily, which led to fall in May.

“The Commerce Ministry is in favour of easing of the curbs on gold imports,” Kher said.    
Notably, the Finance Ministry had imposed restrictions on gold imports last year in order to check the widening Current Account Deficit (CAD).


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