New Delhi, May 1 (IANS) India's exports fell by 5.71 percent to $28.68 billion in March while imports surged 24.28 percent to $42.58 billion, leaving a monthly trade deficit of $13.9 billion, government data showed Tuesday.
Despite a year-on-year decline in March, India's exports surpassed the $300 billion target in 2011-12. Total exports grew by 20.94 percent to $303.71 billion.
The government had set an exports target of $300 billion for the financial year ended March 31.
India managed to exceed the export target helped by product and market diversification strategy.
Imports grew by 24.28 percent to $42.58 billion in March 2012 as compared to $34.26 billion recorded during the corresponding month of previous year, according to data released by the ministry of commerce and industry.
Total imports in 2011-12 grew to $488.64 billion, 32.15 percent higher than the $369.76 billion recorded in the previous year.
Trade deficit widened to a record $184.92 billion in 2011-12, substantially higher than the government's target of $150 billion, and $118.63 billion deficit recorded in the previous fiscal.
Oil imports jumped by 32.45 percent to $15.83 billion in March, largely due to high energy prices in the international markets.
Total oil imports in 2011-12 surged by 46.88 percent to $155.63 billion. Oil imports bill in 2010-11 was of $105.96 billion. This has been the main reason for widening deficit.
Engineering exports grew by 16.9 percent to $58.2 billion. Exports of petroleum and oil products surged by 38.5 percent to $57.5 billion and gems and jewellery exports increased to $45.9 billion, which is 13.3 percent higher than the exports registered in the previous year.
Other sectors which showed healthy performance include: drugs and pharmaceuticals, up 21.9 percent at $13.1 billion; leather, up 22.5 percent at $4.2 billion; electronics, up 9.2 percent at $9 billion; cotton yarn and fabric made-up, up 17.4 percent at $7.2 billion, readymade garments yarns and fabrics, up 18 percent at $13.7 billion and marine products up 31.4 percent at $3.4 billion.
Gold and silver imports jumped by 44.4 percent to $61.5 billion. Imports of coal surged by 80.3 percent to $17.6 billion and imports of machinery increased by 27.7 percent to $35.4 billion.
Imports of electronics goods grew by 23 percent to $32.7 billion; iron and steel imports increased by 15 percent to $11.9 billion; vegetable oil imports grew by 47.5 percent to $9.7 billion; and fertilizer imports surged by 59 percent to $11 billion.
However, imports of gems and jewellery fell by 0.6 percent to $31 billion.
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