India's merchandise exports in May rose by 15.46 per cent -- the slowest in the last 15 months -- to $37.29 billion, while the trade deficit ballooned to $23.33 billion, the commerce ministry said on Thursday.
The previous low was February 2021, when the country's exports grew by 0.67 per cent.
Imports during May 2022 grew by 56.14 per cent to $60.62 billion.
The trade deficit stood at $6.53 billion in the same month last year.
''India's merchandise export in April - May 2022-23 was $77.08 billion with an increase of 22.26 per cent over $63.05 billion in April -May 2021-22,'' it said.
Petroleum and crude oil imports during May 2022 surged by 91.6 per cent to $18.14 billion.
Coal, coke and briquettes imports jumped to USD 5.33 billion, as against $2 billion in May 2021.
Gold imports increased to $5.82 billion during the month under review, from $677 million in May 2021.
Cumulative imports in April-May 2022-23 rose by 42.35 per cent to $120.81 billion.
Trade deficit during the first two months of this fiscal widened to $43.73 billion as against $21.82 billion earlier.
Engineering goods exports in May increased by 7.84 per cent to $9.3 billion, while petroleum products exports grew by 52.71 per cent to $8.11 billion.
Gems and jewellery exports stood at USD 3.1 billion in May against USD 2.96 billion in the same month last year.
Exports of chemicals rose by 12 per cent to $2.5 billion in May.
Similarly, shipments of pharma and ready-made garments of all textiles grew by 5.78 per cent and 23 per cent to $1.98 billion and $1.36 billion respectively during the month under review.
Commenting on the figures, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahai said the trade deficit is a cause of concern due to rise in import of gold.
''But we hope that rising gold imports will lead to an increase in exports of gems and jewellery,'' he added.
(With PTI inputs)