Imports for 2011-12 reached $485 billion leaving a trade deficit of $185 billion, as per the provisional trade data released by the commerce ministry on Friday. However, commerce ministry officials said these numbers were provisional and subject to revision.
Commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said the detailed monthly figures are yet to be compiled and there could be fluctuations in the final numbers. Exports could be in the range of $300-310 billion, but we are yet to get the final numbers, Khullar said.
Indian exports had also exceeded its target for 2010-11 by touching $246 billion against a target of $200 billion. However, the trade deficit clocked $104 billion due to import numbers which stood at $350 billion.
Explaining the export numbers, commerce minister Anand Sharma said, Despite very difficult global scenario, the contraction of demand in some of traditional destinations...diversification into new markets has positively worked towards meeting our target.
Petroleum imports rose to $150 billion. Gold and silver imports stood at $60 billion during 2011-12, which continued to maintain pressure on our trade and current account deficit, Sharma said.
However, experts have sounded the alarm bells for the current fiscal. Indian Institute of Foreign Trade director KT Chacko said the current fiscal may see slow-paced growth in exports. It is possible that the next fiscal is dominated by single digit growth numbers in the export data. This is due to growing protectionist measures across the globe which are likely to affect global trade in 2012-13, Chacko said.
However, according to Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president Rafeeque Ahmed, the emerging opportunities like in Iran may help us to sail through rough weather.