Electronics, petro goods, mobile phones drive H1 exports growth

Cellphones, tobacco, processed foods, electronics, gold jewelry and leather goods propelled India’s merchandise exports in the first six months of the fiscal year at a time when global trade volume growth is slowing.

India’s outbound shipments of telecommunications instruments rose 88.24% year-on-year to US$5.03 billion in April-September FY23, while that of gold and other precious metal jewelry rose 22.24% to US$6.5 billion higher, driven by consumer sentiment in the US, Middle East and Hong Kong. Thailand, Switzerland and Singapore have emerged as new growth markets for the country’s gemstone and jewelry exports. Exports of petroleum products rose a whopping 84.02% to $52.6 billion. Exports of processed fruits and vegetables rose 42.42% during the period and those of electronic instruments rose 24% to nearly US$2 billion.

World trade growth is expected to slow to 1% in 2023 amid global uncertainties, well below the previous estimate of 3.4%, the World Trade Organization said in its October forecast. India’s merchandise exports rose 16.96% year-on-year to US$231.88 billion in the first half of FY23 from US$198.25 billion in the same period last year.


“We have worked with all stakeholders such as farmers, exporters and processors to ensure that high-quality agricultural and processed food products are exported from the country,” said M. Angamuthu, chairman of the Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority.

The country’s total export of agricultural and processed food products grew 25% to US$13.7 billion in April-September FY23 compared to the same period last fiscal year.

However, exports of iron and steel, organic chemicals, plastic raw materials, cotton fabrics and make-up lagged, slowing the overall growth in goods exports to single digits in the second quarter of FY23. Their exports fell by 36.86%, 2.43%, 16.67% and 7.49% in the first half of 2022-23.

The slowdown in Europe and China also contributed to the fall in exports of engineered goods, of which iron and steel are key components, accounting for nearly a quarter of the country’s total merchandise exports.

“Machinery exports have experienced a downward trend. In September, they recorded a 10.85% decline, while cumulatively, that is from April to September 2022, they showed a meager increase of only 1.15%,” said Arun Kumar Garodia, Chairman of EEPC India. The drop is attributed to a fall in iron and steel exports of over 60% in September and a 15% export tariff on iron and steel products in effect since May 21, 2022.

Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal is expected to meet with export promotion councilors and industry representatives on Monday to discuss issues related to India’s trade.