Merchandise exports fell for the 14th consecutive month with shipments in January, 2016 contracting 13.6 per cent year-on-year to $21 billion due to weak overseas demand as well as fall in major export items such as engineering goods and petroleum products.
Imports also fell during the month by 11 per cent to $28.7 billion, resulting in the trade deficit narrowing to an 11-month low of $7.6 billion. The trade deficit would have been lower had the gold imports not recorded an 85.16 per cent increase in January to $2.91 billion. Releasing the data, the commerce ministry said: “The trend of falling exports is in tandem with other major world economies. The growth in exports have fallen for U.S.A. (-10.51%), European Union (-9.48%) and China (-7.01%) for November 2015 over the corresponding period previous year as per WTO statistics.” Reflecting the fall in global oil prices, oil imports in January 2016 were 39 per cent lower year-on-year at $5 billion. However, non-oil imports during January, 2016 were only 1.4 per cent lower at $23.7 billion.