Indian goods exports dipped 3% to $437.06 billion in 2023-24, as compared to $451.07 during the previous year. The increase in export of services from India is expected to compensate for the decline in merchandise exports as the combined value of goods and services during 2023-24 is estimated to touch $776.68 billion, marginally higher than $776.4 billion in 2022-23.

The latest data for the services sector released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is for February 2024. The data for March 2024 hence is an estimation.

Overall goods and services imports combined in 2023-24 are estimated to be on a sharper decline and touch $854.80 billion, a negative growth of (-) 4.81% over 2022-23 thereby having a positive impact on the overall trade deficit for the year.

The overall trade deficit is estimated to significantly improve by 35.77% from $121.62 billion in 2022-23 to $78.12 billion in 2023-24 due to a decline in imports. Merchandise trade deficit improved by 9.33% at $240.17 billion in 2023-24 as compared to $264.90 billion the previous year.

The commerce ministry's monthly trade data released on April 15 points out electronic goods, drugs & pharmaceuticals, engineering goods, iron ore, etc as the main drivers of merchandise export growth in 2023-24. While electronic goods exports increased by 23.64% from $23.55 billion in 2022-23 to $29.12 billion in 2023-24, drugs and pharmaceuticals exports rose 9.67% from $25.39 billion in 2022-23 to $27.85 billion in 2023-24. Engineering goods exports grew 2.13% in value from $107.04 billion in 2022-23 to $109.32 billion in 2023-24.

Agricultural commodities like tobacco (19.46%), fruits and vegetables (13.86%), meat, dairy & poultry products (12.34%), spices (12.30%), cereal preparations & miscellaneous processed items (8.96%), oil seeds (7.43%) and oil meals (7.01%) exhibited positive growth in 2023-24, the ministry data reveals.

Under merchandise imports, 16 of the 30 key sectors exhibited negative growth in 2023-24 as compared to 2022-23. These include cotton raw & waste (-58.39%), fertilisers, crude & manufactured (-39.23%), sulphur & unroasted iron pyrites (-37.51%), vegetable oil (-28.63%), pearls, precious & semi-precious stones (-22.37%), coal, coke & briquettes, etc. (-21.81%) and organic & inorganic chemicals (-20.13%), among others.

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