July exports recovered to 91 per cent of July 2019 levels: Piyush Goyal
July exports have recovered to the level of about 91 per cent of what they were in the same month of the previous year, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday.
Speaking at the India@75 Summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Goyal said that in the last 10 days of July, exports were over 95 per cent of what they were in the year-ago period.
“More interestingly, if you remove petroleum products and gems and jewellery, both of which are largely imported dependent with small value addition in India, we have actually grown in the month of July. And in the last 10 days of July, we have grown by above 10 per cent,” Piyush Goyal stressed. Figures for the month of July are set to be officially released next week.
Merchandise exports fell by 12.41 per cent in June, albeit at a much lower rate than the 36.47 per cent seen in May and 60.28 per cent in April, as the lockdown was lifted. Petroleum products, textiles, electronic goods, and engineering goods, among other items, showed contraction. However, drugs and pharma, crucial during the Covid-19 pandemic, saw a growth of about 10 per cent.
Interestingly, exports of $21.91 billion and imports of $21.11 billion resulted in a surplus of around $800 million in the trade balance in June. India is generally a net importer, and the country had a trade surplus last in January 2002, when it stood at $10 million.
The minister said both government and industry are in regular touch to capitalise on the gains and not lose the momentum in exports.
Piyush Goyal, who is also the Rail Minister, said that for the past 11 days, Indian railways have been running freight trains at twice the speed at what they were running at one year ago. From 23 km/h, trains are now running at 46 km/hour. This would obviously lead to faster transportation of goods and more efficient services as a result of which 4 per cent more freight has been moved over the last 11 days as compared to the same period in the previous year, he added.
“For the first time in the history of railways, rather than customers pleading with the Railways that their goods be given priority access, now all the 69 rail divisions in the country have their own business development unit and they are reaching out to industry for more freight,” said Piyush Goyal.