New Delhi: India’s merchandise exports rose by 21.3% to $18 billion in October over the year- ago period, boosting hopes that the country may be able to reach the $200 billion target fixed for the current fiscal.
Imports during the period grew by 6.8% to $27.68 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $9.72 billion, according to a Commerce Ministry data released here on Wednesday.
The rate of expansion in exports has outpaced imports growth for the first time in last 3-4 years. Exports in October last year were valued at $14.8 billion while imports were worth 25.9 billion.
The growth in overseas shipments is attributed to improved demand in the US and EU, besides increase in exports to African and Latin American countries.
The country is likely to end the year with import-export gap of about $125 billion, said a Commerce Ministry official recently.
For the first seven months (April-October) too, exports rose at a faster pace of 26.8% at $121.3 billion against 26% growth in imports at $194.1 billion.
All the big ticket items like engineering goods, gems and jewellery, chemicals and petroleum products have registered positive growth in the first seven months of the fiscal, the official said.
However, exports of tea, tobacco, cashew and handicraft declined.
In imports, oil imports and non-oil imports during the month under review grew by 0.3% to $8.41 billion and 9.9% to $19.27 billion, respectively, according to the data.
During April-Oct 2010-11, oil and non-oil imports grew by 24.6% to $57.12 billion and 26.7% to $137.04 billion, respectively.
Continuous upward trend witnessed in exports has made the government officials optimistic of meeting the $200 billion export target this fiscal. The target was announced in the Foreign Trade Policy in August last year.