Assocham lowers fiscal’s export outlook again – to $255-260 bn

New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS) Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) on Sunday further lowered its outlook for India’s exports in the current fiscal to $255-260 billion, countering the government’s claim that there is no crisis in the sector.

The development came on a day when industry chamber FICCI said the country’s third quarter manufacturing is also set to decline due to sluggish exports.

While India’s exports stood at $310 billion in the previous fiscal, Assocham in September had forecast the fiscal’s exports to be around $265-268 billion.

The decline in exports continued for the 12th month in a row in November as these fell nearly 25 percent to $20.01 billion amidst a slowdown in global demand.

“Given the further decline in the last few months, the chamber is revising its outlook downward, disagreeing with a pre-dominant government view as if there is no big problem in the sector,” Assocham said in a statement here.

A commerce ministry statement earlier this month had however held that there “is no crisis in India on the export front and while there is a need for caution, there is no need for alarm”.

The cumulative value of exports during the April-November period was down over 18 percent at $174.30 billion, as against $213.77 billion in the same period last year.

Assocham said the export crisis goes well beyond petroleum products, gems and jewellery to highly job-oriented leather and leather products and has engulfed the entire agri exports sector.

“There is no point shying away from the crisis, if it is there. The answer lies in recognising the problem without sweeping it under the carpet and then finding a way out. After all, nobody in India or elsewhere, for that matter can be blamed for the global crash in demand,” said Assocham president Sunil Kanoria.

“India’s balance of payments is calculated along with the current account deficit in dollar terms and exports have a major contribution. Therefore, one cannot take comfort in currency depreciation,” he added.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said on Sunday, citing its survey, that the outlook for India’s manufacturing sector for the third quarter ending December appear to be weakening mainly on account of sustained sluggish exports.

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