In yet another indication that all is not well with the Indian economy, exports fell by 1.9% in December, the eighth successive month of contraction, as orders from Europe, hit by sovereign debt worries and a wobbly political situation, continue to shrink.
Commerce secretary SR Rao, however, saw a silver lining, and said there is an arrest in the fall of exports as “all the sectors including engineering have slightly improved”.
India’s exports during April to December stood at $214 billion. The $360 billion export target for 2012-13 appears increasingly elusive.
Last month, a worried government had announced a set of measures to help embattled exporters stay afloat, including a one-year extension for a subsidised bank loan scheme.
Under this scheme, specified exporters can avail bank loans at a cheaper rate. The government pays the banks two percentage points of interest directly, to ensure that they do not have bear the additional burden of providing cheaper credit.