Concerns mount for Indian exporters as respiratory illness surge in China threatens trade

Exporters are closely monitoring the influenza situation in China, expressing apprehension about its potential spread

respiratory illness in China to impact India's trade

The recent surge in respiratory illnesses in China is causing alarm among Indian exporters, raising fears of potential impacts on India’s trade. China, being the fourth-largest export market for India, holds a crucial position in the global supply chain. Exporters are closely monitoring the influenza situation in China, expressing apprehension about its potential spread.

This concern arises against the backdrop of a significant decline in India’s goods exports this year, attributed to weak demand from Europe and the United States due to high-interest rates following the Russia-Ukraine war and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

While exports of engineering, electronic, and pharmaceutical products have rebounded in key markets like the US and Europe in October, these items have witnessed a sustained decline in China due to the ongoing property sector crisis. In FY23, exports to China plummeted by a notable 28 per cent to USD 15.32 billion, while imports surged by 4.16 per cent to USD 98.51 billion.

Ajay Sahai, the head of the Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO), expressed exporters’ concerns, emphasising that China is already grappling with demand challenges. Although immediate threats are not imminent due to maintained inventories for the next two to three months, it is crucial to contain the spread of the respiratory illnesses.

Official numbers reveal that India’s engineering goods exports to China in October witnessed a decline of over 18 per cent to USD 213.24 million compared to USD 260.30 million in the previous month. Engineering exports, constituting 24 per cent of India’s total merchandise exports, face challenges as they decline in China while improving in other regions like Australia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, and the US.

Arun Kumar Garodia, Chairman of the Engineering Export Promotion Council of India (EEPC), highlighted the declining trend in engineering exports to China, posing a potential threat to already diminishing exports due to the rising respiratory illnesses in the country.

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