India’s overall exports, including both merchandise and services, were US$528.5 billion during the financial year 2019-20. Overall imports during the same period were recorded at US$598.6 billion.
Merchandise exports (US$314.3 billion) accounted for over 59 per cent of total exports, with the top five export commodities being petroleum products, pearls & precious/semi-precious stones, drug formulations & biologicals, gold & other precious metal jewelry, and iron & steel. The US, UAE, China, Hongkong, and Singapore were the top destinations for India’s commodity exports in 2019-20. Exports of Services stood at US$214.1 billion during the year. While merchandise exports registered a decline of 5 per cent over the previous year, services exports continued on a growth path, with a 4.4 per cent increase over the previous year.
Following a similar trend, merchandise imports in 2019-20 (US$467.2 billion) declined by about 9.2 per cent compared to the previous year, while services imports (US$131.4 billion) grew by about 4.3 per cent during the same period. The top five import commodities are crude oil, gold, petroleum products, pearls & precious/semi-precious stones, and coal/coke/briquettes. China was the largest source of merchandise imports into India, followed by the US, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq in 2019-20.
In the current financial year 2020-21, the total exports (merchandise and services) for the period April to October stood at US$265.09 billion, registering a decline of 14.53 percent as compared to the same period in 2019-20, an improvement over 19.32 percent decline for the April to September period in 2020-21 vis-à-vis 2019-20. Total imports, at US$ 248.58 billion, declined by about 31.89 percent, resulting in a Trade Surplus of US$ 16.52 billion during April to October 2020. India continues to be one of the largest refined products exporters in Asia with petroleum products accounting for around 6.6 percent of total merchandise exports in October 2020. The country also exported engineering goods (24.98 percent of the total shipments), gems & jewelry (11.75per cent), drugs and pharmaceutical products (8.3 percent), gems & jewelry (11.75 percent), among other items. Given the constant expansion in capacity and skills, India’s export market – merchandise as well as services – has been expanding into new geographies, by pursuing geography-specific and product-specific strategies to increase market share.