Export Numbers Scaled Down

So, here it is: There is official confirmation that something is wrong with the trade figures. Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar has said that exports have been over-stated by $9 billion due to “misclassification and errors” (read here). Unlike many of his colleagues, Mr Khullar is not scared of owning up and admitting that mistakes have occured.

The export numbers for the year will now have to be revised. The finance ministry released the mid-year review of the economy on Friday, December 9, 2011. April-September exports were shown as $160 billion. Now that will have to be scaled down to $151 billion. So, the earlier growth number of 52% for the first half of 2011-12 will also have to be scaled down to 43.8%.

Economists and experts (including this blogger) have been complaining about the ureliable nature of the trade data. It was obvious that something was wrong somewhere. Record export growth numbers at a time when the rest of the world is shrinking did sound a bit incongruous. It also does nothing to burnish India’s already dodgy record with data. We now hope that the error margin is only $9 billion and not higher. Because even 43.8% growth in exports sounds a bit strange, especially in these stranger times.

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