The Latest Evidence That Global Trade Has Collapsed: India’s Exports/Imports Plunge By 25%

Late last month, India surprised 51 out of 52 economists when the RBI cut rates by 50bps. 

Although economists have a reputation for being terrible when it comes to making predictions (getting it wrong perpetually is almost a job requirement), it’s difficult to understand how 51 of them failed to see a cut of that magnitude in the cards.

After all, it was just a little over a month earlier when the Indian government’s chief economic advisor Arvind Subramanian told ET Now television that India may need to “respond” to China’s monetary policy stance. He also hinted at further export weakness to come.

Here’s what the REER picture and the export picture looked like going into the RBI meeting:

 

 

 

And here’s what Deutsche Bank had to say in August: 

Currency competitiveness is an important factor in influencing exports performance, but global demand is even more important, in our view, to support exports momentum. Global demand remains soft at this stage which continues to be a key hurdle for exports momentum to gain traction. 

Hence the outsized rate cut.

So that’s what the picture looked like going into Thursday’s export data and unsurprisingly, the numbers definitively show that global trade is in freefall. Here’s Reuters: 

India’s exports of goods shrank by nearly a quarter in September from a year ago, falling for a 10th straight month and threatening Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal of boosting economic growth through manufacturing.

India’s economy, Asia’s third largest, is mostly driven by domestic demand, but the country has still felt the effects of China’s slowdown. Exports have dropped and consumer and industrial demand for imports has weakened.

Imports fell 25.42 percent in September from a year earlier to $32.32 billion. Exports stood at $21.84 billion, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Thursday.

“We see no signs of revival in exports in the near future,” said Ajay Sahai, director general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations. “We will be lucky if exports could even touch $265 billion to $270 billion for the whole year.”

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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