Exports rise 13% in 1st week of September, railway freight up 10%


NEW DELHI: India’s exports have increased 13% during the first week of September, while railway freight loading is around 10% higher, indicating signs of a pickup that augurs well for manufacturing activity.
Merchandise exports were estimated at $6.1 billion between September 1 and 7, but the increase was of the order of 23%, excluding petroleum and gems & jewellery — two segments hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Oil product exports shrunk 31% to a little under $200 million on account of weak demand and subdued prices. Similarly, gems & jewellery exports fell 10% to $61 million, data accessed by TOI showed. Engineering products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals were among the sectors, which have seen healthy growth. Among the countries, exports to the US grew a healthy 20%, while those to China were 7.5% higher, sources said. The UAE, Singapore and Belgium were among the countries, which have seen a sharp contraction in exports from India.
Apart from petroleum, machinery and coal imports were down by over 35% each. “These are early trends for the month. Data on rail freight too seems to suggest an overall uptick,” said a government source. Freight loading is estimated to have risen 10% to almost 26 million tonnes between September 1and 8. For FY21 so far, loading is around 12% lower. While segments such as food transport have seen a healthy increase due to the government shipping more grains, there are surprises in the form of automobiles, where companies are increasingly relying on railways.

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