Beating the Covid impact, merchandise exports surged 47% in June from a year before to $32 billion, mirroring the effect of a favourable base and improved demand from key markets. Importantly, exports recorded a 30% jump even over the same month in 2019, before the pandemic struck.
With this, goods exports in the June quarter hit $95 billion, a record for any quarter in any year and up 85% from a year earlier, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday.
Enthused by the jump, the minister has now set an export target of $500 billion for the next fiscal and $1 trillion by the end of five years after that. Already, the commerce ministry has set an ambitious target of $400 billion for FY22, against $291 billion last fiscal.
The minister exuded confidence that the target for the current fiscal can be realised.
Goods exports have now crossed the pre-Covid (same months in 2019) level for four straight months, signalling that a recovery in trade is taking roots.
Of course, export growth was low even before the pandemic — outbound shipments rose about 9% in 2018-19 but again shrank by 5% in 2019-20. So only a sustained uptick over the next 2-3 years would help recapture the lost heights.
Still, given the unprecedented crisis and localised lockdowns in key industrial states, the export performance so far this fiscal was promising.
Major commodities or groups that have recorded high year-on-year growth in the April-June period included iron ore (168%), rice (37%), cotton yarn/fabrics/made-ups, handloom products etc. (33%) and engineering goods (25%).