Exports dropped 1.66% to USD 25.97 billion in January, 6th straight month

New Delhi: The country's exports dropped 1.66% to USD 25.97 billion in January, the sixth straight month of contraction, on account of a significant fall in shipments of petroleum, plastic, carpet, gems and jewellery, and leather products.

Imports also fell for the eighth consecutive months, down 0.75% to USD 41.14 billion in January, widening the trade deficit to a seven-month high of USD 15.17 billion, according to the government data.

Gold imports shrunk by about 9% to USD 1.58 billion during the month under review. Last time, it was in June 2019 when the trade deficit aggregated at USD 15.28 billion.

Of the 30 key sectors, as many as 18 segments showed negative growth in exports during the month.

Shipments of petroleum products, plastic, carpet, gems and jewellery, and leather products contracted by 7.42%, 10.62%, 5.19%, 6.89%, and 7.57 4%, respectively, in January.

The country's outbound shipments have remained subdued so far this year. It may have a bearing on the overall economic growth, which is pegged at 5% for the current financial year.

Industrial output declined by 0.3% in December 2019 due to poor performance mainly by manufacturing.

In January, while oil imports grew 15.27% to USD 12.97 billion, non-oil imports fell by 6.72% to USD 28.17 billion.

Cumulatively, during the April 2019-January 2020 period, exports were down 1.93% to USD 265.26 billion, while imports contracted by 8.12% to USD 398.53 billion.

Trade deficit during the period narrowed to USD 133.27 billion as against USD 163.27 billion in April-January 2018-19.