Export Inquiries Increase: Labor Accelerated Sectors Worried About High Costs

New Delhi: Exporters have seen a 20% rise in export inquiries in the last fortnight from the US, Australia and Japan with cotton yarn being exported at a 15-20% discount especially to China, handicraft exporters getting inquiries worth Rs 150 crore in a span of four days, and the EU resuming its jewellery imports.

Consider this: The first virtual fair on Indian Fashion Jewellery & Accessories show had around 1,200 overseas buyers from about 81 countries. “Serious inquiries worth Rs 150 crore were generated which are likely to convert to actual deals,” said Rakesh Kumar, Director General, EPCH.

Cancellation of orders had resulted in India’s merchandise exports contracting a sharp 60% from a year earlier to $10.36 billion in April. The government expects the contraction in exports in May to be 30-35%. Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal recently said that exports in June could be at par with June 2019 or 8-10% less.

“Exploratory inquiries are happening and there is almost a 20% rise in them in the last few weeks with the US, Australia and Japan contributing to most,” said Ajay Sahai, director general, Federation of Indian Export Organisations. However, labour intensive sectors such as gems and jewellery are unsure of a sharp rise in exports as social distancing norms kick in driving up labour costs.

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