Exports continued to post growth for the third consecutive month, rising by 6.97 per cent in March.

There was, however, a decline in export of 1.76 per cent at $300.6 billion in 2012-13.

Exports in March stood at $30.8 billion compared to $28.8 billion in the same month of the previous year. Imports dipped by 2.87 per cent to $41.16 billion in March, leaving a narrowed trade deficit of $10.31 billion from $13.5 billion in March last year. In January, it had widened to $20 billion, the second highest figure ever in a month.

During 2012-13, the trade deficit widened to $190.91 billion from $183.3 billion in the previous fiscal. Commerce Secretary S.R. Rao said exports were gradually picking up. He expressed hope that the current trend would continue.

“Export performance has started picking up. For March, the export performance has picked by a slightly robust figure as compared to the previous two months. We do expect this trend to continue. I should assume a minimum of 10 per cent growth if the current trend continues,” he told reporters after the release of the new Foreign Trade Policy supplement here.

Mr. Rao said the trade deficit had come down slightly which was good.

“Given a very weak performance for a major part of the year, I think in the last 3-4 months, we really covered a good deal of ground. This may not be sufficient, but certainly there is progress in exports,” he said.

During 2012-13, imports grew by 0.44 per cent to $491.48 billion. Crude oil imports in March 2013 declined by 16.56 per cent to $13.32 billion. Non-oil imports in March increased by 5.41 per cent to $27.83 billion, but during 2012-13, it dipped 3.62 per cent to $322.23 billion.

During 2012-13,

the trade deficit widened to

$190.91 billion

from $183.3 billion in the previous fiscal