New Delhi– India’s exports plunged by 9.80 per cent to $24.38 billion in January, from $27.03 billion worth of merchandise shipped out in December 2017, official data showed on Thursday.

However, on a year-on-year (Y-o-Y) basis, the exports for January grew by 9.07 per cent to $24.38 billion from $22.35 billion reported for the corresponding month of last year.

“Exports during January 2018 have exhibited positive growth of 9.07 per cent in dollar terms vis-a-vis January 2017. Exports have been on a positive trajectory since August 2016 to January 2018 with a dip of 1.1 per cent in the month of October 2017,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.

Exports during January 2018 were valued at $24,383.97 million as compared to $22,356.32 million during January 2017.

The data pointed out that healthy growth in exports was led by “Engineering Goods (15.77 per cent), Petroleum Products (39.5), Gems and Jewellery (0.89), Organic and Inorganic Chemicals (33.6), and Drugs and Pharmaceuticals (8.6)”.

“Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in January 2018 were valued at $17,523.24 million as against $16,607.36 million in January 2017, an increase of 5.51 per cent,” the ministry said.

As per the data, country’s imports during the month under review declined by 2.93 per cent to $40.68 billion in January 2018 from $41.91 billion in December 2017.

But on a YoY basis, it increased by 26.10 per cent to $40.68 billion from $32.26 billion reported for the corresponding period of the previous year.

Segment-wise, the data showed that India’s oil imports during January shot up by 42.64 per cent to $11.65 billion, from $8.17 billion in the same month last year.

Non-oil imports during last month stood at $29.02 billion with a growth of 20.49 per cent over $24.08 billion in January 2017.

Consequently, India’s merchandise trade deficit on a YoY basis widened to $16.29 billion during last month as against $9.90 billion in the corresponding period the previous year.

“The marginal growth in exports of gems and jewellery and contraction in sectors such as textiles, yarn and iron ore dampened the expansion of merchandise exports to a three month low in January 2018,” said Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA.

“Imports recorded a broad based surge with the exception of a few items such as gold, pulses and project goods. The dip in gold imports was more than offset by higher imports of silver, pearls, precious and semi precious stones.” (IANS)