India is not a major cable exporter

India has not traditionally been a major exporter of wire & cable. Total Indian exports reported in the country’s trade statistics under HS code 8544 for 2005 were US$ 148 million. This compares to 2005 exports from China under the same code of US$ 4.8 billion!  The Chinese figure is particularly high, as exports in this trade category include cable assemblies and harnesses, which have been growing very strongly in recent years.

India Cable Exports Lag

But Indian wire & cable exports also lag well behind those reported for many other Asian countries, such as Thailand (exports US$ 663 million in 2005), Turkey (US$ 715 million), Malaysia (US$ 512 million) and the Philippines (US$ 814 million). The value of total wire & cable exports from several of these other Asian countries (notably the Philippines and Thailand) are, like China’s exports, also boosted by high value exports of cable harnesses, but Turkey, benefiting from its location close to Western Europe, is a major exporter of cable.

But Indian Exports Are Growing

Though Indian exports of wire & cable are small compared to many other Asian countries, they have been growing in recent years. Increasing from US$ 38 million in 2000 to US$ 148 million in 2005, the average annual rate of growth in Indian cable exports over this period was 40%. One of the main elements of this growth has been cable exports from India to the UAE, up from US$ 8 million in 2000 to US$ 32 million in 2005, including US$ 19 million of winding wire. Part of this growth in trade will be due to booming cable consumption in the UAE, but Dubai is also an important trading centre, so some of the wire & cable imports from India are likely to be re-exported. Exports from India to the UK and to the US have also grown (each accounting for US$ 16 million in 2005). Indian exports to less developed countries are occasionally boosted by project business (e.g. US$ 17 million to the Sudan in 2002).

High Exports of Winding Wire

Winding wire (HS codes 8544.11 and 8544.19) accounted for a major part of Indian wire & cable exports in 2005: US$ 43 million or 29% of the total. Wiring sets for vehicles (HS code 8544.30) were only US$ 16 million, as India is not a major producer of auto harnesses for export. In 2005 exports of fibre optic cable grew to US$ 23 million (compared to US$ 7 million in 2004), as Indian producers became more active in markets outside India. Exports of energy cable have also grown, but Indian cable-makers do not yet have a strong presence in markets for energy cables outside India.

Net importer in Value Terms

In the reported trade statistics India is a net importer of wire & cable, with imports of US$ 334 million in 2005, compared to exports of US$ 148 million. However, this comparison is distorted by some relatively high value products in imports. CRU’s analysis of cable trade in volume terms indicates that India’s net trade position is actually close to balance, the overall volume of exports being only slightly higher than imports.


Growing Imports

Wire & cable imports into India have also grown strongly over the period 2000 to 2005, up from US$ 86 million to US$ 334 million (31% per year on average). During this time imports into India from China have grown very substantially, from US$ 3.5 million to US$ 82 million. The next largest source of imports is the US (US$ 30 million in 2005), with Germany in Number 5 position. More surprisingly, the third largest source of Indian imports was Thailand, with a total of US$ 28 million in 2005, including US$ 16 million of power cable.