Reacting to the 34.57 per cent fall in monthly exports in March to $21.41 billion—the highest ever double-digit decline in monthly exports—the Federation of Indian Export Associations (FIEO) said the COVID-19 spread has not only pulled down the world sentiment to its lowest but has also affected the global supply chain and brought economies to recession.
FIEO president Sharad Kumar Saraf said exporters were not able to export during the second half of March due to lockdown, cancellations and delay in shipments and orders.
Saraf believes at least during the first quarter of fiscal 2020-2, the sector will see a similar growth trend, which will be a global trend. However, from the second quarter, exports may start showing nominal growth depending on the condition evolving in the global market.
Further with major global players including China, the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Russia and the Gulf countries facing the brunt as oil and other commodity prices have drastically declined during recent days, the short-term perspective of the exports sector looks grim, FIEO said in a press release.
Saraf said that 29 out of the 30 major product groups were in negative territory during March 2020 except for iron ore. He expressed serious concerns over the sharp decline in job-intensive export sectors that has serious ramifications for the employment scenario in the country, particularly as domestic demand will also not be robust.
With the cancellation of over half of the orders, a gloomy forecast, major job losses and rising non-performing assets amongst exporting units, the federation has urged the government to immediately announce a relief package for exports as any further delay would be catastrophic.