In a worrying start to this fiscal, India’s merchandise exports declined sharply by 14 percent in April and stood at $22.05 billion due mainly to the overall conditions in the global market, while gold imports shot up by 85 percent.
The exports contracted from $25.63 billion during April 2014.
According to data on exports and imports released by the ministry of commerce and industry on Friday, the trade deficit for April this year stood at $11 billion against $10.08 billion during the like month of the previous year.
The trade deficit, in fact, widened despite a major 42.65-percent drop in oil imports during April 2015 and was valued at $7.44 billion against $12.98 billion in the corresponding month of the previous year.
Non-oil imports, including gold, were estimated at $25.60 billion, which was 12.58 percent higher than the $22.74 billion in April 2014. Imports of gold nearly doubled and were over 85 percent higher at $19.65 billion, against $10.596 billion.
The overall imports during April were down by 7.48 percent at $33.04 billion from $35.72 billion.
Commodity-wise, high export growth was witnessed in tobacco (24.28 percent), spices (19.60 percent), ceramic products (15.67 percent), carpets (14.17 percent), handicrafts (13.46 percent), cashew (10.71 percent), drug and pharmaceutical (9.73 percent) and cereal preparations (8.08 percent).
Segment-wise, high import growth was reported in fertilisers (70.70 percent), transport equipment (69.44 percent), pulses (42.45 percent), electronic goods (30.01 percent), artificial resins and plastic materials (19.35 percent), fruits and vegetables (17.03 percent), iron and steel (16.01 percent) and electronic and non-electronic machinery (10.11 percent).
Another set of data independently released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) showed that services export for March was lower by 1.88 percent and stood at $14.04 billion from $14.31 billion earned during the corresponding month of last year.
However, services imports during March fell by 7.42 percent and stood at $7.86 billion from $8.49 billion in the like month of 2014.