Business Today - - THE BUZZ - - Joe C. Mathew

Thir­teen months of growth in mer­chan­dise ex­ports has given way to a dip in Oc­to­ber. The value of ex­ports dur­ing the month was $23.09 bil­lion, 1.12 per cent lower than $23.36 bil­lion in the same month last year. This is sig­nif­i­cant be­cause of neg­a­tive growth in only labour in­ten­sive sec­tors such as leather and leather prod­ucts, gems and jew­ellery, hand­i­crafts, ready­made gar­ments and car­pets. These were the most hit by de­mon­eti­sa­tion and now GST and could in­di­cate the need for re­me­dial ac­tion. An­other prob­lem is that the fall in ex­port growth is not ac­com­pa­nied by a fall in im­ports (to main­tain the trade bal­ance). Im­ports have risen – oil im­ports, in par­tic­u­lar, were $ 9.28 bil­lion, over 27 per cent higher than oil im­ports. In­creas­ing trade deficit in a cli­mate of in­creased oil im­port bur­den can never be healthy.

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