Exports fall for eighth straight month in December

New Delhi, Jan 11 (IANS) India's exports dropped 1.92 percent to $24.87 billion in December, registering a decline for the eighth month in a row due to weak demand in Europe and North American markets, government data showed Friday.

In the first three quarters of the current financial year, total value of exports stood at $214.09 billion, 5.5 percent down from $226.55 billion recorded during the same period of the previous year.

Imports increased 6.26 percent to $42.54 billion in December, leaving a monthly trade deficit of $17.67 billion, according to data released by the ministry of commerce and industry here.

Talking to mediapersons here, Commerce Secretary S.R. Rao said most of the sectors have showed signs of recovery in December as decline in exports was not that sharp.

"We hope this trend to continue in the coming months," Rao said.

Total trade deficit for April-December period has widened to $147.17 billion. During the corresponding period of 2011-12, trade deficit was $137.31 billion.

Widening trade deficit has resulted in the record jump in the country's current account deficit. India's current account deficit rose to the all-time high of 5.4 percent of the GDP in July-September quarter, according to the Reserve Bank of India data.

"Exports have been constantly falling since April 2012. We have communicated concerns of the garments industry to the government," said A. Sakthivel, chairman, Apparel Exports Promotion Council.

"Garments industry has asked for separate chapter for export. This will help get the credit at low interest rate boosting our exports," he said.

Oil import in December was valued at $14.42 billion, 23.56 percent higher than oil imports bill of $11.67 billion recorded during the same month in the previous year.

During April-December period, total value of oil import increased by 12.18 percent to $124.52 billion.

Non-oil imports in December fell by 0.87 percent to $28.11 billion.

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