India’s exports grew by 0.82% in January — the first positive growth after eight months — in what came as a glimmer of hope for an economy that appears headed for its worst growth in a decade.
“I hope with exports growing marginally in January, it should help us narrow the trade gap at the close of the fiscal year,” commerce minister Anand Sharma said after launching the Nasscom national summit in Mumbai.
Export sectors, which registered positive growth cumulatively include rice, tobacco, oil meals, carpet and pharmaceuticals.
India’s exports had been contracting since May as orders from Europe, hit by sovereign debt worries and a wobbly political situation, continue to shrink.
In November, a worried government announced a set of measures, including extension of an existing subsidised bank loan scheme, for embattled exporters struggling to stay afloat amid shrinking world demand.
Under the subsidised interest rate scheme, specified exporters can now access bank loans at a cheaper rate. The government pays banks directly bearing the cost of the loan by two percentage points to ensure that lending institutions do not have bear the additional burden of providing cheaper credit.
This scheme, which was to end on March 2013 has been extended for one more year.
“Export performance in January has shown slightly positive results, which is a matter of a bit of happiness and cumulative exports too have shown slight arrest in the fall,” said SR Rao, commerce secretary. “In the last couple of months, there is an arrest in the fall of exports. We wish that the momentum continues and hopefully the additional incentives should result in better traction as we go forward.”