New Delhi– India’s merchandise exports in April were valued at $20.57 billion — down 6.74 percent in dollar terms against $22.05 billion in the like month of last year, signalling a decline for the 17th straight month.

“The trend of falling exports is in tandem with other major world economies,” the commerce ministry said on Friday releasing data on foreign trade for the first month of the new fiscal.

Cumulatively, for the fiscal year 2015-16, exports were down 15.85 percent in dollar terms at $261.14 billion against $310.34 billion.

The data showed that imports also declined, by 23.1 percent to $25.41 billion in April this year from $33.05 billion in the same month a year ago.

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

The massive fall in the crude oil prices over the past year has brought down the import bill.

Oil imports during the month under review declined by 24.01 percent to $5.66 billion from $7.44 billion in the corresponding month of last year.

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

The country’s trade deficit narrowed to a low of $4.84 billion in April from $10.99 billion reported during the corresponding month of 2015.

The ministry said that taking merchandise and services, the overall trade deficit for 2015-16, too narrowed to $48.87 billion, while the corresponding figure for the previous year was more than $61.11 billion.

Reserve Bank of India data for March showed exports of services at $12.90 billion, which on a month-on-month basis, turned positive with a growth of 4.59 percent, as compared to a drop of 1.94 percent in February.

The cumulative export of services for April-March, 2015-16, was at $69.59 billion, which is lower than the net export of services of $76.59 billion during the previous fiscal, the statement said. (IANS)