Export growth eased to a six-month low of 3.49 percent in December mainly due to a fall in the shipment of petroleum goods.
“It is only one product group which has contributed to (slower growth in exports) and that is petroleum products. There has been an unplanned maintenance shutdown in one of our largest exporters of the country – Reliance Industries,” Commerce Secretary S R Rao said on Friday.
India’s exports stood at USD 26.3 billion in December compared with USD 25.4 billion in the same month of 2012. Petroleum exports, which contribute significantly to the country’s trade basket, declined 16 percent last month.
However, a 15.25 percent decline in imports to USD 36.4 billion, particularly in gold and silver shipments, helped to narrow the trade deficit to USD 10.1 billion in December. In November, the trade gap was USD 9.21 billion.
Inward shipments of gold and silver dipped 68.8 percent to USD 1.77 billion from USD 5.6 billion in December last year, although they were higher than USD 1.05 billion in November.
Oil imports grew 1.1 percent to USD 13.89 billion during the month.
Rao said that barring petroleum products, all other sectors such as engineering, textiles and chemicals have shown reasonable healthy growth.
Commenting on the figures, Rafeeq Ahmed, President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, said efforts are required to keep export growth in double-digits.
During April-December, exports aggregated USD 230.3 billion and imports USD 340.3 billion, while the trade deficit was about USD 110 billion.