New Delhi: India’s merchandise exports rose 2.35% to $27 billion in August while imports growth also slowed to 2.08% ($37.8 billion), leading to a narrower trade deficit of $10.8 billion.

In July, exports had grown 7.33% to $27.7 billion.

During the previous month, exports of gems and jewellery, electronic goods and petroleum products contracted 10.3%, 17.7%, 12.9%, respectively while pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and engineering goods grew at 7.03%, 2.7% and 22.2%, respectively.

Oil imports during August grew at 15% to $12.8 billion, while non-oil imports which is an indicator of industrial recovery increased 13.8% to $24.9 billion during the same month.

Net services exports during July stood at $6.5 billion, according to data released by the Reserve Bank of India.

The commerce department has targeted merchandise exports of $340 billion and services exports of $160 billion for the year ending 31 March. During 2013-14, the total value of exports was $465.9 billion with merchandise and services exports comprising $314.40 billion and $151.5 billion, respectively.

A new foreign trade policy for 2014-19 is being prepared by the commerce department and is expected to be ready within a month, which would include strategy, goals, road maps and time frame for increasing exports.

“This would be comprehensive and composite, focusing on products which are winners and potential winners, targeted global engagements, branding and packaging measures, etc.," the department said in a statement earlier this month.

The department is also preparing to re-align, redraft and synchronize benefits in various chapters of the current policy to bring in more clarity, rationalize the number in schemes and to ensure that provisions are placed in an orderly manner.