Further lowering the outlook for Indian exports to USD 255-260 billion for fiscal 2015-16, ASSOCHAM maintained that the sector is in real crisis which goes well beyond petroleum products, gems and jewellery to highly job-oriented leather and leather products and has engulfed the entire agri exports witnessing sharp falls.
The country’s merchandise exports in 2014-15 were USD 310 billion and the ASSOCHAM had in September this year had forecast the overseas shipments to be around USD 265-268 billion. However, given the further declines in the last few months, the chamber is revising its outlook downward, disagreeing with a pre-dominant government view as if there is no big problem in the sector.
During the period April-November 2015 total exports were USD 174.3 billion with a decline of decline of 18.5 per cent over corresponding period figure of USD 213.8 billion.
“In fact, the November, 2015 official data shows that out of 30 top commodities, 23 reported negative trend. As against the assertion that all is not that bad in sectors other than non-oil, non-gems and jewellery, the data clearly shows a crisis like situation in host of areas like marine products, leather and leather products, coffee, spices, cotton yarn-fabs-made ups, meat and dairy products , rice and chemicals,” the ASSOCHAM said.
It said, the chamber would also agree more with the Mid-Year Economic Review, authored by Chief Economic Adviser Mr Arvind Subramanian than an assessment of the Commerce Ministry regarding impact of the exports decline on the GDP growth. The chamber quoted the Mid –Year Review which said, “declining exports seem to be predominantly determined by a decline in world demand. Regardless of the causes, the effect has been a drag on growth. This drag has been about 1.0 percentage point even relative to last year”.
ASSOCHAM President Mr Sunil Kanoria said, “There is no point shying away from the crisis, if it is there. The answer lies in recognizing the problem without sweeping it under the carpet and then finding a way out. After all, nobody in India or elsewhere , for that matter can be blamed for the global crash in demand”.
He said it would also not be correct to take consolation in the fact that the exports have fallen marginally in rupee terms. “India’s Balance of Payment is calculated along with the Current Account Deficit in dollar terms and exports have a major contribution…thus cannot just take comfort in just about currency depreciation”.
In November ,2015 coffee exports were down by 10.82 per cent, spices by 15.75 per cent, cotton yarn , fabs made ups by 18 pc , chemicals by 12.57 pc leather and leather products 16.19 pc , meat dairy and poultry 19 per cen ,marine products 10 pc and rice down by 37 pc ….Thus, the meltdown is well spread, ASSOCHAM added.