New Delhi–Signalling a definitive reversal of the continuous decline in Indian exports through most of last year, official data on Friday showed these grew for the fourth month in a row at $23.89 billion in December 2016, an uptick of an impressive 5.72 per cent over the $22.59 billion in December 2015.

The data released by the Commerce Ministry showed the increase of exports sequentially over the 2.29 per cent growth in November, but was slower than the 9.59 per cent growth in October.

Cumulatively for the April-December period, exports rose marginally by 0.75 per cent in dollar terms at $198.8 billion, as against exports of $197.3 billion over the same period last year.

The government said exports declined to the US (-1.21 per cent), China (-7.45 per cent) and and European Union (-6.27 per cent). but these grew for Japan ((3.79 per cent) during October 2016 over the corresponding period of the previous year, as per latest WTO statistics.

“Non-petroleum exports in December 2016 were valued at $21.12 billion against $20.03 billion in December 2015, an increase of 2.2 per cent,” a statement here said.

Imports during the month in question at $34.25 billion, were 0.46 per cent higher than the imports of $34.10 billion in December 2015.

Consequently, the trade deficit in December was lower at $10.37 billion, as compared to the deficit of $11.50 billion during same month of 2015.

Cumulative imports for April-December 2016 were worth more than $275.4 billion, which was a 7.42 per cent fall from the over $297.4 billion worth imports recorded for the same period of 2015.

With global oil prices climbing back to over $50 a barrel, India’s oil imports during December 2016 were valued at $7.65 billion, which was a sharp 14.61 per cent higher than oil imports valued at $6.67 billion in the corresponding month of 2015.

Non-oil imports in December fell by 2.98 per cent to $26.60 billion, from $27.43 billion in the same month of last year

The trade deficit cumulatively for April-December, however, declined to $76.55 billion against $100 billion in the same period of 2015-16.

As per Reserve Bank of India data on Friday, services exports during November 2016 were valued at $13.34 billion, registering a marginal increase over the $13.11 billion worth exported in October.

Taking merchandise and services together, overall trade deficit for April-December 2016 is estimated at $33.74 billion, which is an impressive 36.78 per cent fall in dollar terms than the level of $53.37 billion during the same period last year.