Pandemic drags exports by a record 34.6% in March
- 2020-04-15 17:41
- By livemint.com
India’s merchandise exports slumped by a record 34.6% in March while imports declined 28.7% as countries sealed their borders to combat the covid-19 outbreak. Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint Of the 30 major items each in India’s export and import baskets, 29 saw a contraction in March, signalling the severity of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global demand. Only iron ore exports (58.4%) and import of transport equipment (11.9%) recorded a growth during the month. “April would be worse as international trade excepting medicine and essential supplies has come to a near halt. “The wide range of possibilities for the predicted decline is explained by the unprecedented nature of this health crisis and the uncertainty around its precise economic impact. But WTO economists believe the decline will likely exceed the trade slump brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008‑09," it said last week. World Bank in its latest South Asia Economic Focus said reduced external demand for manufacturing as well as services exports will impact India. “One of India’s largest exports is business and professional services, consisting of business process outsourcing (BPO) such as technical support and call centres largely based in India. Lockdown measures, both in origin and destination countries, have forced offices to close as their infrastructure is heavily geared towards in-office working. There is also a concern that external demand will drop precipitously even beyond the lockdown period, as clients cut costs.