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BW Businessworld

Exports Dip 1.9% In Dec To $24.8 Bn; Imports Up

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India's trade deficit narrowed to $17.7 billion in December from $19.3 billion in November, even after exports fell for the eighth straight month, a trade ministry official said on 11 January 2013.

India's exports contracted by 1.9 per cent in December to $24.88 billion, down for the eighth month in a row due to demand slowdown in the US and European markets. For the first three quarters of the fiscal year ending in March, exports totalled $214.1 billion, down 5.5 per cent from a year ago.

Exports had stood at $25.3 billion in December 2011.

Imports grew however by 6.26 per cent to $42.5 billion in December.

During the April-December period of 2012-13 fiscal, the country's overseas shipments have shrunk by 5.5 per cent to $214.1 billion. Imports during the period have dipped by 0.71 per cent to $361.2 billion.

Commerce Secretary S R Rao said that there is an arrest in the fall of exports as "all the sectors including engineering have slightly improved".

During the first nine months of this financial year, the trade deficit stands at USD 147.2 billion.

Oil imports in December increased by 23.5 per cent year-on-year to $14.4 billion. Non-oil imports, however, declined by 0.87 per cent to $28.11 billion.

The weakness of the export sector, which makes up one-fifth of the Indian economy, has swollen a current account deficit that hit an all time high of 5.4 per cent of gross domestic product in the July-September quarter and has added to pressure on the rupee.