Reversing a 13-month upward trend, Indian exports in October declined year-on-year by 1.12 per cent to $23 billion due to a drop in shipments of textiles, pharmaceuticals, leather goods and gems and jewellery, according to official data released on Tuesday.
Exports in September had risen over 25 per cent to a six-month high of $28.61 billion.
Imports in October, however, grew by 7.6 per cent to $37.11 billion, from $34.5 billion in the same month last year, a Commerce Ministry release said.
Consequently, India's trade deficit widened to $14 billion during the month, as against $11.13 billion in October last year.
While petroleum exports in October grew by 14.74 per cent, engineering was up 11.77 per cent and chemicals exports rose 22.29 per cent.
Segment-wise, the data showed that India's oil imports during October shot up by 27.89 per cent to $9.29 billion, from $726 billion in the same month last year.
"The global Brent prices have increased by 19.42 per cent in October 2017 vis-a-vis October 2016 as per World Bank commodity price data," the statement said.
Non-oil imports during October at $27.83 billion grew by 2.19 per cent over non-oil imports of $27.23 billion in October last year.
Cumulative exports during April-October, however, increased by 9.62 per cent to $170.28 billion while imports grew by 22.21 per cent to $256.43 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $86.14 billion for the first seven months of the current fiscal.
As per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data on Tuesday, Indian services exports in September this year at $13.73 billion resulted in a positive trade balance on this account for the month ($5.28 billion).
Earlier on Tuesday, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said India was keen to develop regional free trade partnerships.
"Overall, we would like to increase exports but not discourage imports," Prabhu said at the inauguration here of the 37th India International Trade Fair.
"India would like to develop regional partnerships and relationships," he said, adding that the ongoing mid-term review of the Foreign Trade Policy would be presented soon.
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