Centre asks states to appoint commissioners to boost exports

Source: The Economic Times, Aug 26, 2014

NEW DELHI: Seeking to involve state governments in boosting country’s exports, the Centre has asked them to appoint export commissioners to step up efforts to boost shipments.

The export commissioner would help in ensuring easing of bottlenecks and development of infrastructure through appropriate allocation of plan resources, an official said.

The Commerce Ministry has made several efforts in the past few months to mainstream the states so that they focus on boosting exports.

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Leather exports jump 11.6% in April

Source: The Hindu Business Line, May 28, 2013

New Delhi: India’s leather exports jump 11.6 per cent to $367 million in the first month of the current fiscal compared to the same period previous year, on account of rising demand from western markets like the US and EU. In April, 2012, these exports stood at $328 million, according to the data provided by the Council for Leather Exports (CLE).

“In April, the exporters have got good number of orders owing to growing demand for leather items in the US market. Also, the European market is picking up now,” a CLE official said. “We expect leather exports to grow up to 20 per cent in the current fiscal,” he added. The major markets for leather and its products are the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, France and Spain.

Among the items which witnessed growth in April 2013, leather garments saw maximum jump of 23 per cent, followed by leather goods 21 per cent, saddlery and harness 17.4 per cent, leather footwear 13 per cent and footwear components 9.3 per cent. Besides, the official said, there is a good demand for leather products in emerging markets like China, Japan, Africa and Latin America. During 2012-13, leather exports grew over 4 per cent year-on-year to $5 billion in 2012-13.

India breaks Potash cartel to save Rs 5k cr

NEW DELHI: India has managed to clinch almost three million of its annual average of five million tonne potash imports at a record low price of $ 460 per tonne after busting a global potash cartel’s stranglehold on pricing.

This could mean a neat saving of Rs 5,000 crore from the fertiliser subsidy bill of Rs 55,000 crore (BE 09-10) since the benchmark delivered price, clinched by Indian Potash Ltd (IPL), is now applicable to all Indian potash buys.

Thus far, a small group of companies that control roughly 75% of global supply had cartelised to cut production drastically in order to keep the prices high. With this, India has established itself firmly in the A list of global fertiliser buyers with clout to dictate the price of the commodity, a crucial plant nutrient as well as an industrial input.

Analysts surmised that the same price level woudl be offered to China. However, the best part of the deal is that India will get the cheapest potash in the world and should China, who is the world’s biggest buyer, manage to swing a lower price, the same would apply to all the Indian potash buys as well. IPL, is the country’s biggest buyer of potash and imports around 3.5 million tonnes annually. “Nobody else is going to swing a lower price for potash by wielding the gun from our shoulders,” Iffco MD U S Awasthi told ET. Iffco, the country’s largest fertiliser cooperative, owns 34% stake in IPL.

But on July 13, when it sewed up the first deal on potash supplies to the tune of 8.5 lakh tonnes at a literally jaw-dropper price of $460/tonne with IPC, UK (Silvinit’s marketing arm), it was dismissed by sectoral analysts worldwide as a fluke deal with a “desperate” company.

The offer price by a powerful cartel of global potash majors including Canpotex, which is owned by Potash Corp, Mosaic Co and Agrium Inc was $625-635/tonne. Potash prices had soared in June to $700/tonne despite low demand thanks to the grip of the same cartel on prices. Canpotex sells Canadian potash to Brazil, China, India, and other Asian markets,

The real breakthrough that reinforced the benchmark price, though, only happened this Monday, when the world’s sixth largest potash maker and the second largest listed company on the Tel Aviv stock exchange, Israel Chemicals (ICL), took a beating on its shares overnight and caved in.

Source : Economic  Times  23/07/09

Drug exports up 31% on weak Re

NEW DELHI: Drug exports from India shot up 30.7% for the first 10 months of 2008-09 ended January 2009 compared with the previous year, backed by weak Indian currency and increased demand for low-cost generic medicines.

India drugmakers exported medicines worth Rs 31,608 crore during April 2008-January 2009, which was even higher than exports worth Rs 29,139 crore for the fiscal 2007-08, as per figures compiled by Pharmaceutical Exports Promotion Council (Pharmexcil), a government body that oversees drug exports.

“In dollar terms, pharma exports touched $6.99 billion against $6.08 billion during the same period growing at 16.4%,” said Pharmexcil executive director PV Appaji.

The growth comes even as exports to the US market, the world’s largest market, has shown negative in the past two months. Exports to the US market dropped 13% in December and January, the past two months for which data is available, to Rs 1,263 crore.

Mr Appaji explained, “The US sales have been negatively affected by the US drug regulators decision to ban 30 drugs made by Ranbaxy, one of the largest exporters of Indian drugs to the country.”

Moreover, total exports also dipped in the dollar value for January. In January, exports grew 11.5% to Rs 2,917 crore compared with Rs 2,617 crore in the same month last year. But, in the dollar terms, exports during the month declined 10.1% to $597.38 million. This is because of the sharp appreciation in the value of dollar, which had risen almost 25% during the period. The rupee has since then strengthened investment flows into the country.

Meanwhile, Russia has edged past Germany as the second-largest market for Indian drugmakers. Exports to Germany for the 10-month ended January 2009 stood at Rs 1,105 crore against Rs 1,197 crore for Russia.

Indian companies export drugs to over 200 countries, but the top 25 markets, which includes the US, Germany, Russia, China and few European and African countries, account for about half of the total. Among the top 25 countries, exports for January declined for 18 countries in the dollar value, with the biggest drop in Germany (-34.92%), Spain (-35.21) and Brazil (-30.74%).

Source : Economic Times  29/05/09

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Maruti plans to double exports, expand rural presence

CHENNAI/KOLKATA: India’s largest car maker Maruti Suzuki, with a turnover of almost Rs 20,500 crore, is hoping to nearly double its exports this fiscal and expand its footprint in the rural belt, officials said on Tuesday.

“Our export target for the current year is 130,000 units that will include A-Star, Maruti 800, Estilo, and Swift models,” marketing and sales executive officer Mayank Pareek told reporters at the launch of the company’s hatchback model Ritz in Chennai.

Pareek said 70,000 A-Star models will be shipped to Germany, Italy, France, Holland and other European countries to be sold as Suzuki Alto.

The company will also sell 30,000 units of the same model to Nissan Motor Co to be marketed in Europe as Nissan Pixo.

The balance 30,000 units will be non A-Star models – Maruti 800, Estilo and Swift – to be sold in non-European markets such as Algeria, Chile, Sri Lanka and Egypt.

In 2007-08, Maruti Suzuki exported 50,000 units, which went up to 70,000 units last fiscal.

According to G P Chadha, south zone regional manager, the company’s share in the A2 segment – which sold 8.8 lakh units last year – is around 5.12 lakh units.

Maruti Suzuki’s A2 models comprise Zen, Alto, Swift, and now, Ritz.

In Kolkata, Shuji Oishi, director-marketing and sales, told reporters the company was also planning to expand its rural market share to 15 percent from around 5 percent now.

“Keeping in view the increasing demand from the rural areas, we have planned this,” Oishi said.

Stating that owning a car is no longer an urban phenomenon, he said the company would try to sell more Maruti 800, Alto and Wagon R models in rural India. “This is not our wish, this is the market demand.”

Maruti would open extension outlets and employ residence sales executives to tap the rural market, Oishi said.

Source: Economic Times 19/05/09

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500 more diamond units in Surat resume operations

Slowly but gradually, the diamond-cutting and polishing industry in Surat is regaining its lost sparkle. Around 500 more units in the diamond city have resumed operations in the past month, as a result of which diamond units are looking for workers again.

Last year, some 400,000 diamond workers in Surat lost their jobs owing to the global recession that shattered the state’s Rs 50,000-crore industry.

“Surat had 2,500 to 3,000 diamond-cutting and polishing units operational before Diwali. However, only 1,000 units were able to start operations after the vacation,” said CP Vanani, president, Surat Diamond Association (SDA).

Confirming that 500 units had re-opened this month, he said 1,500 units were now back in business.

Lack of raw material stocks of rough diamonds and an improvement in domestic demand prompted closed units to restart their operations.

“Most of the units that restarted operations after Diwali cleared the raw material stock with them by incurring losses. So there is no stock in the pipeline currently and units are now buying raw material as trading activities pick up,” added Pravin Nanavati, former president, SDA.

As a result, trading has also resumed in Mumbai and Surat. “Prices of rough diamonds have surged 20 per cent recently. Though polished diamond prices have not improved as much as those of rough diamond, there is a great deal of optimism that prices of polished diamond would firm up in the days to come,” Vanani added, saying he anticipated a pick-up in demand in the days to come.

Ninety per cent of the diamonds cut and polished in Surat are exported. “Recession has not hit India as much as it has impacted the US and other western countries,” said Nanavati.

He pointed out that Indian consumers have started buying diamonds for investment purposes, a change from their earlier habit of buying only diamond jewellery.

The situation is still far from being favourable to the diamond industry. Cutting and polishing units that restarted operations recently are finding it difficult to get workers. All of them are operating with 50 to 60 per cent of their required workforce, since many of those who were laid off shifted to other industries such as textile and agriculture.

Source: .Business Standard 14/05/09

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Chief statistician counts on 8% growth patch

New Delhi: The economy could fire on all cylinders and outgrow all projections for the current fiscal, be it the finance ministry’s 6% or the Reserve Bank of India’s 5.7%, or even the far more pessimistic estimates of the IMF.

According to Dr Pronab Sen, the country’s chief statistician, the economy could be back on a high growth trajectory earlier than expected and grow all of 8% in the current fiscal that started in April.

“I think that many of the estimates on growth that have come so far do not take into account many factors like the new investments in the pipeline, export orders which are showing signs of revival, a good harvest which will further boost already robust rural demand and the extra output from new oil and gas exploration fields such as the KG basin. We could achieve an 8% growth in the current fiscal,” said Dr Sen.

According to him, even though some of the projects might get shelved, the pipeline for new projects will remain robust. After growing at an average 8.5% plus for five consecutive years, the Indian economy is estimated to have grown at close to 6.7% in the fiscal ended last March.

Dr Sen’s thoughts on early signs of a revival in the Indian economy are in line with many leading indicators like Nomura’s Composite Leading Index and UBS Lead Economic Indicator.

ABN AMRO purchasing manager’s index for April, released on Monday, showed India and China as two economies that expanded after months of contraction while the output index for six core sectors for March released last week showed a growth of 2.9%, the highest in the last six months.

The Purchasing Manager’s Index for April had also shown an expansion in new export orders for the first time since last September.

However, exports from India have fallen for seven straight months starting October and saw their sharpest fall in March with a drop of 33%. According to Rajeev Kumar, director and CEO of Delhi-based think-tank Indian Council for Research in International Relations, even if global trade shrinks by 7-8%, India’s exports can achieve a healthy expansion once the government takes adequate measures to make Indian exports more competitive.

“The new export orders, which have begun to come in, may take anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months to get reflected in the export data. From here on, the export sector could witness improvement,” Dr Sen explained. Bigger order books in domestic and overseas markets are expected to push the increase in purchases of industrial inputs, which will keep the sub zero inflation patch short. “At the maximum, the subzero inflation might last for a couple of weeks.”

According to Dr Sen, the rural story, which was the single leg on which growth in India withstood the global meltdown, will get better on robust growth in agriculture and allied services.

“According to early indications, we may receive a better than expected harvest which will further boost the rural demand, which is already robust,” he added. Indeed, this will be the first time India will witness 4 continuous years of expansion in the last forty years.

Incidentally, International Monetary Fund and Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development have the most pessimistic outlook for India’s growth in the current fiscal. They have pegged growth below 5%.

To this, Prime Minister’s economic advisory council chairman Suresh Tendulkar said ,”The psychology of gloom and doom have been imported into India without justification…an overly pessimistic view of the Indian economy is unwarranted .”

An unstable government could hurt, though. ”We might have to keep up public spending for the time being until private investment is back on full swing. For that, we need a strong and stable government at the Centre,” said the chief statistician.

Source: The Economic Times 6/05/09

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