India's exports declined 6.86 per cent to USD 34.48 billion, the seventh month in a row, in August this year due to a fall in shipments from key sectors like petroleum and gems and jewellery on subdued global demand.
The trade deficit (difference between imports and exports) during the month remained almost flat at USD 24.16 billion. However, it widened on a sequential basis, as it was USD 20.67 billion in July.
According to the government data released on Friday, imports also declined, ninth month in a row, by 5.23 per cent to USD 58.64 billion against USD 61.88 billion recorded in August 2022.
Cumulatively, exports during April-August this fiscal contracted by 11.9 per cent to USD 172.95 billion.
Imports during the five-month period fell by 12 per cent to USD 271.83 billion.
The trade deficit narrowed to USD 98.88 billion against USD 112.85 billion during April-August 2022.
Briefing media about the data, Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal said that there is some improvement and it is a "good sign for us".
India's exports contracted by 15.88 per cent in July.
He added that till July, there was a pessimism, but now green shoots are visible.
"It means the global situation is improving. The trade deficit, which has always been a concern, but the figures (August) are looking good. It is a soothing factor for the economy," Barthwal told reporters here.
He, however, expressed concerns over rising interest rates in Europe, which may impact their manufacturing and Indian shipments.
Exports sectors, which recorded negative growth in August, include tea, coffee, rice, spices, leather, gems and jewellery, textiles, and petroleum products.
However, 15 of the 30 key sectors exhibited positive growth in August include iron ore, electronic goods, oil seeds, cashew, carpet, engineering, pharma and marine products.
On the import front, oil shipments in August dipped by 23.76 per cent to USD 13.2 billion. During April-August 2023, it declined by 23.33 per cent to USD 68.3 billion.
Gold imports in August rose by 38.75 per cent to USD 4.93 billion. During April-August 2023, it increased by 10.48 per cent to USD 18.13 billion.
According to the data, exports of electronic goods rose by 26.29 per cent in August to USD 2.17 billion. During the five-month period, it has increased by 35.22 per cent to USD 11.18 billion.
Further services exports in August are estimated at USD 26.39 billion compared to USD 26.5 billion a year ago. Imports stood at USD 13.86 billion against USD 15.22 billion.
The estimated value of services exported in April-August 2023 was USD 133.38 billion compared to USD 126.85 billion in April-August 2022.