Recent export data "very disturbing" - Anand Sharma

MUMBAI Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:20am EST

India's Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma attends the opening plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) India Economic Summit in Mumbai November 13, 2011. REUTERS/Vivek Prakash

India's Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma attends the opening plenary session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) India Economic Summit in Mumbai November 13, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Vivek Prakash

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Anand Sharma, India's trade minister, called the country's recent export data "very disturbing" but said he remained hopeful that the country could meet its target of shipping $300 billion worth of goods for the current fiscal year that ends in March.

"I remain optimistic but there have been concerns of late," Sharma told Reuters on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum Event in Mumbai.

Last week, data showed that growth in merchandise exports, once a bright spot that clocked 82 percent annual expansion during July, had slowed to just 10.8 percent for October, dragged down by weakness in the United States and Europe.

"Last month's figure is very disturbing," Sharma said.

Exports from the start of the fiscal year in April through October totalled $179.8 billion, according to provisional data released on Tuesday, and Trade Secretary Rahul Khullar said at the time that it would be difficult to hit the full year target.

"Some of this was anticipated earlier. That's why we have been very modest in setting our target," Sharma said on Sunday, referring to the $300 billion figure.

"I hope that industry will make a special effort and the government too will work very closely with our exporting community and the manufacturing community to see that we are able to meet our target," he said.

Sharma said he had called for a review meeting with the Federation of Indian Export Organisations and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

For more Reuters coverage of the World Economic Forum India Economic Summit, click:

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(Reporting by Matthias Williams; editing by Tony Munroe)

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