Macroeconomic Update: Indian Exports: Loss of Global Competitiveness

By Rajiv Kumar and Geetima Das Krishna
1 June 2015

India’s exports have declined for six consecutive monthssince December 2014 with an average decline of 13.85% yoy. The decline was broad-based. Even exports of Manufactured goods trended lower during this time and failed to compensate for the fall in nominal value of commodity exports, which declined due to a huge erosion of global commodity and oil prices. India’s exports seem to have become more reliant on global commodity prices in recent years. In line with global crude oil prices, India’s monthly petroleum exports that peaked in July’14 at $7 billion shrunk to mere $2.4 billion in May 2015, declining at an average of 52% since the start of the year. Iron ore exports having peaked at $509.5 million in December 2011 moved from $129.5 million in April 2014 to $10 million in May 2015. It is instructive to take a longer term perspective of export performance (Please see Chart I below). Average export growth hasremained almoststagnantsince January 2012 after a sharp bounce back from the collapse in the first and second quarters of 2009, induced by the global financial crisis. Export growth since October 2011 (50 months) is much lower than the robust 20% average clocked during the seven year period of April 2002- March 2009. (marginally lower than the 23% rate of growth assumed for the five year period of 2015-16 to 2020-21 in the Foreign Trade Policy announced in early 2015).