Amid clear and strong signals that the worst was over for the world economy, India's exports continued its upward rise for the third consecutive month in January, growing by 11.5 per cent, riding on the back of increased demand from the Western and new diversified markets.

According to official figures released here on Tuesday, exports increased to $14.34 billion in January from $12.86 billion a year ago. Imports clocked a positive growth for the second straight month after falling for 11 months in a row since December 2008. Inward shipments rose by 35.5 per cent to $24.70 billion from $18.22 billion.

The trade deficit almost doubled to $10.36 billion for the said month from $5.3 billion in January 2009, according to the official data. However, during the April-January period, exports remained in the negative zone because of big drops witnessed in earlier months of the current fiscal. The consignments declined by 17.8 per cent to $131.93 billion for the ten-month period from $160.43 billion in the same month of the previous fiscal. Commerce Ministry officials said the worst was over for the Indian exports and that a review would be done in March.

Fruits and vegetables, marine products and tobacco did exceedingly well in January, while sectors like tea, coffee, gems and jewellery, drugs and plastics also improved. However, engineering goods, textiles, jute, carpets, handicrafts and leather continued to fare badly. “The figures are clearly reflecting that the exports are coming on the track,” Federation of India Export Organisations President A. Sakthivel said.

On the other hand, oil imports went up by 56 per cent to $7.05 billion in January from $4.52 billion in the same month last year. Non-oil imports grew by 28.8 per cent to $17.65 billion compared to $13.7 billion.

However, oil imports during April-January 2009-10 dropped by 25.3 per cent to $63.97 billion from $85.62 billion in the corresponding period last fiscal. Non-oil imports too dipped by 17.1 per cent to $154.56 billion from $186.41 billion.

The trade deficit in the first ten-months of the current fiscal stood at $86.6 billion compared to $111.59 billion in the year-ago period.

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