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May 2, 2002 | 1305 IST
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Exports fell by 0.08% in '01-02, imports up by 1.08%

BS Economy Bureau

India's trade performance was dismal with exports falling by 0.08 per cent during 2001-02, way below the 3 per cent growth target set for the fiscal.

Imports grew by 1.08 per cent during this period, up from $50.11 billion in 2000-01 to $ 50.65 billion in 2001-02.

The trade deficit for the fiscal was $6.66 billion, which is 9.5 per cent higher than the deficit of $6.08 billion in 2000-01.

The decline in exports was however, as per expectations, said government officials.

"The decline in exports is as per expectations as this has been a bad year for exports internationally. The figures were expected," said director-general of foreign trade NL Lakhanpal.

The country's exports fell to $ 43.99 billion between April-March 2001-02 as against $ 44.03 billion in 2000-01.

Considering that exports grew 21 per cent in 2000-01 and 12 per cent in the year before that, it is commendable that exports clocked around $44 billion, the same level as last year, he said.

Exports for the fiscal 2001-02 could have been marginally better than the previous year if internal disruptions like the Gujarat incidents and the Mumbai truckers' strike had not occured, Lakhanpal stated.

These incidents affected the normal movements of goods. "Moreover, since the western region accounts for almost 25 per cent of the country's trade, exports to the extent of around $1-2 billion were affected, he added.

On the export target for the current fiscal, he said, "We are watching the situation and are trying to read the trends in the international economy. The growth target for exports for 2002-03 is expected to be finalised in June".

In March 2002, exports grew by 0.78 per cent to reach a level of $ 4.34 billion, up from $ 4.30 billion in the corresponding month last year. Imports were valued at $ 4.3 billion, 6.76 per cent lower than $ 4.6 billion in March 2001.

The fall in value of imports, led to the country reporting a trade surplus of $ 0.04 billion in the last month of the previous fiscal. India had a trade deficit of $ 0.30 billion during March 2001.

During 2001-02, oil imports were valued at $ 13.67 billion, 12.73 per cent lower than the import level of $ 15.67 billion in 2000-01.

Non-oil imports grew by 7.36 per cent, from $ 34.45 billion in 2000-01 to $ 36.98 billion in the previous fiscal.

In rupee terms, the exports grew by 3.16 per cent to reach a level of Rs 2101 billion in the period between April-March 2001-02, while the level of imports went up by 4.59 per cent, according to data released by the directorate general of commercial intelligence and statistics.

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