Exports may remain flat, even fall in current fiscal: Assocham

New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) India’s exports are likely to remain flat or may even fall below the $310 billion level achieved last fiscal, the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (Assocham) said on Sunday.

“In the face of slow global demand for merchandise, India’s exports in the current financial year are likely to stay flat or may even move backward of $310 billion, the figure achieved in 2014-15,” Assocham said in a statement here.

“Overall the trade confidence is quite muted,” Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said on the basis of the industry chamber’s latest survey.

He called on the government to move fast on improving ease of doing business and reducing transaction costs for Indian shipments.

“While it has been a weak trend since July 2014, exports have been witnessing contractions since January this year right through April,” he added.

India posted exports of $310 billion as against a target of $340 billion for 2014-15.

“The trend is likely to continue at least for gems and jewellery, while the situation may somewhat stabilise for the petroleum segment since after seeing a sharp fall, the crude oil prices have stopped seeing much of drop. Petroleum exports are related to the prices of crude oil,” Assocham said.

In the previous fiscal, while engineering goods registered a modest increase, the other two segments witnessed a sharp fall.

Pointing out that growth in the US this year has still not firmed up, Assocham said a stronger dollar had hit India’s exports to that country.

The Assocham survey found that merchandise exports are likely to average around $22-25 billion a month till the end of second quarter of the current fiscal.

The shipments would improve thereafter, but the upside remains limited, the chamber said.

However, the impact of some fall in exports would not have major impact on the trade balance since imports, too, would remain muted because of the poor consumption demand in the domestic economy.

According to Assocham, imports would remain between $440-450 billion in the current fiscal, on lines similar to the previous year.

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