India's exports contracted for the fourth month in a row in November, dipping 0.34 per cent to USD 25.98 billion, mainly on account of poor shipments of petroleum, gems and jewellery and leather products.
Imports too declined by 12.71 per cent to USD 38.11 billion in November, narrowing the trade deficit to USD 12.12 billion, according to government data released on Friday.
Gold imports increased by 6.59 per cent to USD 2.94 billion in the month.
The trade deficit stood at USD 17.58 billion in November 2018.
Out of the 30 key sectors, as many as 17 segments showed contraction in exports during the month under review.
Shipments of petroleum products, gems and jewellery, fruits and vegetables, leather and leather products and ready-made garments of all textiles contracted by 13.12 per cent, 8.14 per cent, 15.10 per cent, 5.29 per cent and 6.52 per cent respectively.
In November, oil imports declined by 18.17 per cent to USD 11.06 billion, while non-oil imports contracted 10.26 per cent to USD 27.04 billion.
Cumulatively, during April-November 2019, exports were down 1.99 per cent to USD 211.93 billion while imports contracted by 8.91 per cent to USD 318.78 billion.
Trade deficit during the period narrowed to USD 54.06 billion as against USD 82.47 billion in April-November 2018-19.
Commenting on the data, EEPC India Chairman Ravi Sehgal said though engineering exports have put up a reasonably good show with 6.32 per cent growth in November 2019, the overall external trade environment remains challenging and subdued.
"We are working with the government to improve our competitiveness and hope that the issues raised by exporters, like the higher cost of the basic raw material of steel, are addressed,'' Sehgal said.
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