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India Front Line Report
SEAnews Issue:monthly
2014-03-28 ArtNo.44899
◆Anand Sharma sees exports crossing $300-bn mark
【New Delhi】Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Tuesday said this financial year, India's merchandise exports would exceed last year's $300 billion. He, however, refused to comment on whether these would meet the government's target of $325 billion.
 At a press conference here, Sharma said, "Exports will be definitely higher than last year's. The trade deficit will be brought down substantially."
 On gold imports, Sharma said soon, the commerce ministry would take up the matter with the finance ministry and seek relaxation of the 80:20 rule imposed by the Reserve Bank of India. Under the rule, import of gold isn't allowed unless 20 per cent of the previous imports are exported. The norm had left many confused, leading to imports being held up at customs.
○Experts doubtful of meeting FY14 exports target
【New Delhi】During its previous review of the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2009-2014, the commerce ministry had set the exports target for 2013-14 at $325 billion.
 In his 2014-15 interim Budget speech, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had pegged merchandise exports for 2013-14 at $326 billion, 6.3 per cent more compared to 2012-13.
 Experts say exports might be lower than this target set by the commerce ministry, as well as the finance minister's estimate.
 "While we will exceed last year's exports, it will be difficult to reach $326 billion. Undoubtedly, we will achieve growth over last year but might fall short of achieving the target set during the last review of the FTP," said Ajit Ranade, chief economist, Aditya Birla Group.
○Services sector still in contraction mode: HSBC
【Mumbai】Even though the pace of contraction declined, the services sector activity continued to be weaker for the eighth consecutive month, according to the HSBC Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI).
 The headline HSBC Services Business Activity Index rose marginally at 48.8 points in February as against 48.3 points in the previous month. A reading below 50 points indicates contraction.
 "The latest reading was consistent with a slight rate of contraction, and one that was the slowest in the current eight-month period of reduction. Where output declined, this was linked by survey respondents to lower levels of incoming new work and economic instability across the country," HSBC said in a survey.
 The survey showed that new orders at Indian services companies continued to decrease in February, leading to a further decline in output. Meanwhile, workforce numbers remained broadly unchanged since January.
○El Nino's potential return may hurt recovery, growth: Crisil
【New Delhi】A monsoon failure in 2014 due to El Niño's return could slow the pace of economic recovery, and gross domestic product could grow just 5.2% in the 2014-15 fiscal, said a Crisil Research report on Tuesday.
【News source】

Anand Sharma sees exports crossing $300-bn mark

Experts doubtful of meeting FY14 exports target

Services sector still in contraction mode: HSBC

El Nino’s potential return may hurt recovery, growth: Crisil

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