Marking a recovery after a gap of eight months, exports grew by a marginal 0.82 per cent in January, but trade deficit widened to around USD 20 billion, the second highest figure ever in a month.
The trade gap ballooned as imports at USD 45.58 billion were much greater than exports value of USD 25.58 billion in the month, adding to woes of government which is fighting hard to contain the widening current account deficit.
Current account deficit stood at a record high of 5.4 per cent of the GDP in the July-September quarter.
The biggest trade gap of USD 21 billion was recorded in October, 2012.
The improvement in exports has been mainly on account of better performance by sectors such as engineering, textiles and gems and
jewellery. Exports have been contracting since May 2012. In January 2012, exports stood at USD 25.37 billion.
However, during April-January period, overseas shipments shrunk by 4.86 per cent to USD 239.6 billion.
"I hope with exports growing marginally in January, it should help us narrow the trade gap at the close of the fiscal," Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said in
"Export performance in January has shown slightly positive results which is a matter of a bit of happiness and cumulative exports too have shown slight arrest in the fall," Commerce Secretary S R Rao told reporters.
Rao hoped that the incentive package, which came into force from January, would help the country's exports to "improve significantly" in the coming months.
"In the last couple of months, there is an arrest in the fall of exports. S,o we wish forward momentum continues and hopefully the additional incentives should result in better traction as we go forward," he added.