The country's exports grew 5.37 per cent year-on-year to USD 27.24 billion in January 2021, mainly driven by healthy growth in pharma and engineering sectors, according to provisional data of the commerce ministry.
Trade deficit during the month narrowed to USD 14.75 billion from USD 15.3 billion in January 2020. It was USD 15.44 billion in December 2020.
Imports in January 2021 rose 2 per cent to USD 42 billion.
Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet said, "Aatmanirbhar Bharat Takes Global Stage: Merchandise exports increased to USD 27.24 billion in January, recording a year on year growth of 5.37 per cent. With Government incentives to export-driven industries, Make in India is catering to the world in the new year".
Exports of pharmaceuticals and engineering grew 16.4 per cent (USD 293 million), and about 19 per cent (USD 1.16 billion), respectively, the data showed.
The other sectors which recorded healthy growth includes oil meals (253 per cent), Iron ore (108.66 per cent), tobacco (26.18 per cent), rice (25.86 per cent), fruits and vegetables (24 per cent), carpet (23.69 per cent), handicrafts (21.92 per cent), spices (20.35 per cent), ceramic products and glassware (19 per cent), tea (13.35 per cent), cashew (11.82 per cent), plastic (10.42 per cent), and chemicals (2.54 per cent).
Export sectors which recorded negative growth include petroleum products (-37.34 per cent), ready-made garments of all textiles (- 10.73 per cent), and leather (- 18.6 per cent).
In December 2020 also, the country's merchandise exports recorded a growth of 0.14 per cent.
Imports of gold jumped by about 155 per cent to USD 2.45 billion in January this year. Imports of other segments which recorded growth are pulses, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, cotton raw and waste, vegetable oil, chemicals, and machine tools.
However, cumulatively exports during April-January 2020-21 contracted by 13.66 per cent to USD 228.04 billion as against USD 264.13 billion during the same period last year, the data showed.
Similarly, imports too dipped by about 26 per cent to USD 300.26 billion during April-January this fiscal.
"In January 2021, oil imports were USD 9.40 billion, as compared to USD 13.01 billion in January 2020, a decline by 27.72 per cent. Oil imports in April-January 2020-21 were USD 63.09 billion, as compared to USD 109.72 billion in April-January 2019-20, showing a decline of 42.48 per cent," it said.
The Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) welcomes the support in the Union Budget for agri export policy along with the transport and marketing assistance for specified agriculture products.
Founder chairman of TPCI Mohit Singla said the budget gave thrust on boosting agriculture export and take Indian products to the global shelves by allocating Rs 100 crore for the agri export policy.
Findoc Financial Services Executive Director Nitin Shahi said that decrease in custom duty on gold and silver will add to customer spending and will be positive for jewellery companies.