Trade deficit narrows to $9.92 billion.
Exports grew by a meagre 3.79 per cent in January to $26.7 billion, but imports, particularly gold and silver, declined, narrowing the trade deficit sharply to $9.92 billion in the month.
The deficit was $18.9 billion in January, 2013.
Director General of Foreign Trade Anup Pujari said export growth was in single digit because of a decline in outbound shipments of major products — gems and jewellery and petroleum.
“Petroleum products and gems and jewellery have shown a decline in exports. As a result, when my major two things among the top four are showing decline, exports are not going far,” he said.
Gold and silver imports declined by 77 per cent to $1.72 billion in January, mainly due to restrictions imposed by the government on inbound shipments of the precious metal for narrowing the current account deficit.
Imports of gold and silver in January, 2013, stood at $7.49 billion. In December 2013, imports were worth $1.77 billion.
Imports of the two metals during April-January, 2014 too declined by 37.8 per cent to $27 billion from $46.7 billion in April-January, 2013.
Exports of petroleum products and gems as well as jewellery during the month under reference contracted by 13.1 per cent and 9.39 per cent, respectively.
Imports fell by 18.07 per cent to $36.6 billion in January. Oil imports too declined by 10.1 per cent to $13.18 billion during the month under review.
The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) expressed serious concerns over the declining trend in exports from October, 2013, onwards.