New Delhi: India’s exports fell for a sixth straight month, the longest losing streak since 2009, weakening the rupee and boosting pressure on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to spur demand in Asia’s third-largest economy.

Overseas shipments fell 20.2% in May from a year earlier and imports dropped 16.5% on lower oil prices, the commerce ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. That resulted in a $10.4 billion trade deficit versus an $11 billion gap predicted by the median of 19 estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

Oil imports dropped 41% in May to $8.53 billion. Non-oil imports, too, came down 2.2% to $24.21 billion. Gold imports, however, grew 10.5% to $2.42 billion in May.

A weakening rupee and an acceleration in inflation indicates room is decreasing for Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan to lower interest rates further.

The rupee touched the day’s low soon after the data. The currency has weakened 2.1% over the past three months, the fourth-worst performance among 24 emerging market currencies tracked by Bloomberg. Bloomberg

PTI contributed to this story.

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