Context: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry released data pertaining Indian exports,imports and overall trade. 

Findings of Data:

Source: Pib

*Note: The latest data for the services sector released by RBI is for February2020. The data for March2020 is an estimation, which will be revised based on RBI’s subsequent release.

  • Merchandise Trade
    • Exports: The ongoing pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak across the world has dealt a blow to Indian merchandise exports, with overall shipments dropping 34.57 per cent in March
      • Experts have termed this the highest drop in exports in recent times.
      • The decline in exports has been mainly due to the ongoing global slowdown, which got aggravated due to the current Covid-19 crisis. 
      • The latter resulted in large scale disruptions in supply chain and demand resulting in cancellation of orders.
      • Major commodity groups which have recorded negative growth during March 2020 vis-à-vis March 2019 are Oil meals (-69.85%), Meat, dairy & poultry products (-45.48%), Engineering goods (-42.32%) etc.
      • Cumulative value of exports for the period April-March 2019-20 was USD314.31billion, registering a negative growth of (-)4.78per cent in Dollar terms.
    • Imports: Imports in March2020 were USD31.16billion which was 28.72per cent lower in Dollar terms.
      • Major commodity groups of import showing negative growth in March2020 were Pearl,Precious and Semi Precious Stone (53.46%), Machinery,electrical and non electrical etc..
      • Cumulative value of imports for the period April-March 2019-20 was USD467.19billion, registering a negative growth of  (-)9.12per cent in Dollar terms
      • Both Oil and Non Oil imports fell more in March 2020 as compared to annual fall. 
      • In this connection it is mentioned that the global Brent price ($/bbl) has decreased by 50.34% in March2020 vis-à-vis March2019 as per data available from the World Bank.
  • Trade in Services
    • Exports and Imports both are expected to rise by 4.13% and 5.16% in April-March 2019-20 over the previous year.
  • Trade Balance:
    • Merchandise goods will have a Negative overall balance for the year 2019-20 and Services will have a positive trade balance.
    • However the volume and magnitude of merchandise goods will tilt the overall balance to negative for the year 2019-20.
    • Thus an overall trade deficit of 70.16 billion dollar is expected for the year 2019-20.

Brent Crude:

  • It is a major trading classification of sweet light crude oil that serves as one of the two main benchmark prices for purchases of oil worldwide, the other being West Texas Intermediate. 
  • This grade is described as light because of its relatively low density, and sweet because of its low sulphur content. 
  • Brent Crude is extracted from the North Sea and comprises Brent Blend, Forties Blend, Oseberg and Ekofisk crudes (also known as the BFOE Quotation). 
  • The Brent Crude oil marker is also known as Brent Blend, London Brent and Brent petroleum.
  • It is the leading global price benchmark for Atlantic basin crude oils
  • It is used to price two thirds of the world's internationally traded crude oil supplies.


Image Source: Indian Express