New Delhi– India’s merchandise exports declined for the 18th consecutive month in May at $22.17 billion, down 0.79 percent in dollar terms, against $22.35 billion in the like month of last year, official data showed on Thursday.

“The decline in exports for India has slowed considerably as the above figures indicate. The growth in exports have fallen for USA (6.15 per cent), European Union (1.42 per cent), Japan (0.75 per cent) but China exhibited positive growth (11.39 per cent) for March 2016 over the corresponding period previous year as per WTO statistics,” the commerce ministry said in a statement here.

Cumulatively, for the April-May, exports were down 3.74 percent in dollar terms at $42.74 billion, against $44.40 billion over the same period last year.

The data showed that imports also declined, by 13.16 percent to $28.44 billion in May this year from $32.75 billion in the same month a year ago.

Cumulative imports for April-May were worth more than $53.86 billion, which was a 18.15 per cent fall from $65.80 billion worth recorded for the same period a year ago.

Oil imports during the month under review declined by 30.45 percent to $5.94 billion from $8.54 billion in the corresponding month of last year.

For April-May, crude oil imports plummeted by 27.45 percent at $11.59 billion from $15.98 billion in the corresponding period last year.

India’s trade deficit widened in May to $6.27 billion, its highest in three months. The trade deficit in May 2015 was $10.40 billion.

“Overall the trade balance has improved.

“Taking merchandise and services together, overall trade deficit for April-May 2016-17 is estimated at $5.39 billion which is 65.67 per cent lower in dollar terms than the level of $15.71 billion during April-May 2015-16,” it added.

Reserve Bank data showed on Wednesday showed India’s services export in April remained almost flat at $12.91 billion.

The services export in April 2015 was at $13.01 billion, while in March this year, they stood at $12.89 billion.

Services imports in April were also steady at $7.18 billion, as compared to the figure of $7.32 billion in the same month a year ago. (IANS)