Exports from India reached their highest-ever level in the second quarter of 2021, with a total value of $95 billion recorded during the months between April and June.
Figures from the Commerce Department showed this marked an increase of 85 percent compared with the same period in 2020 and surpassed the previous three-monthly record of $90 billion, which was recorded in the fourth quarter of the 2020-21 fiscal year.
Merchandise exports increased by 47 per cent year-on-year to $32.46 billion in June. This was primarily due to strong demand for items including engineering goods, petroleum products, and gems and jewelry.
Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said in a briefing that his department is still aiming to reach an all-time high of $400 billion of merchandising exports by the end of the current fiscal year, and will be working with relevant stakeholders to achieve this target.
He said: "Highest-ever merchandise export in a quarter of $95 billion has been achieved in the April to June [period] in 2021 despite the severity of the second wave of Covid-19. Sector-specific interventions, involvement of all the stakeholders and functioning of the government as a whole helped in achieving the growth."
Meanwhile, India's imports were also up strongly, with merchandise up by $96.33 billion year-on-year. Overall, imports more than doubled to $126.14 billion when compared to April to June 2020, though these figures are impacted by the effect of Covid on global trade in the early days of the pandemic.
As a result, India was a net importer of goods in June 2021, with a trade deficit of $9.4 billion. This marked a 1,426.6 percent change from the trade surplus of $0.71 billion recorded in June last year, when the disruption caused by the pandemic resulted in India being a net exporter of goods and services.
Aditi Nayar, chief economist at ICRA, said: "The sharp increase in non-oil exports is encouraging, reflecting both the vaccine-driven revival in activity in many trading partners, as well as the higher prices of commodity exports."