New Delhi– India’s merchandise exports in March were valued at $22.72 billion, down 5.47 percent in dollar terms against $24.03 billion in the like month of last year, suggesting a decline for the 16th straight month.

Cumulatively, for the fiscal year 2015-16, exports were down 15.85 percent in dollar terms at $261.14 billion against $310.34 billion, according to official data on foreign trade released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Monday.

The data showed that imports declined by 21.56 percent to $27.78 billion in March this year from $35.42 billion in same month a year ago.

Cumulative imports for 2015-16 were worth more than $379.59 billion, which was 15.28 percent fall from $448.03 billion worth recorded for 2014-15.

The continuing fall in the crude oil prices is seen to have brought down the import bill.

Oil imports during the month under review declined by 35.30 percent to $4.79 billion from $7.41 billion.

Cumulatively, crude oil imports plummet by 40.24 percent in last fiscal at $82.66 billion from $138.32 billion.

Trade deficit, thus, narrowed to a low of $5.07 billion in March from $11.39 billion reported during the corresponding month of 2015.

Trade deficit for 2015-16, too narrowed to $118.45 billion, while the corresponding figure for the previous year was more than $137.69 billion.

Further, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data showed that exports of services dropped by 1.94 percent to $12.32 billion in February 2016. (IANS)