India's merchandise exports in September rose by 5.99 per cent on a year-on-year basis, official data showed on Thursday.
The country shipped out merchandise worth $27.58 billion during the month under review as against $26.02 billion exported in the same period of the previous year.
In terms of sequential movement, the country's merchandise exports in August stood at $22.70 billion.
The contraction caused by the Covid-19 pandemic had widened during August at (-) 12.66 per cent from (-) 10.12 per cent in July and (-) 12.41 per cent in June.
"Non-petroleum and Non-Gems and Jewellery exports in September 2020 were $21.27 billion, as compared to $19.00 billion in September 2019, registering a positive growth of 11.94 per cent," the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.
"Major commodities or commodity groups which have recorded positive growth during September 2020 vis-a-vis September 2019 are 'Other cereals, Iron Ore, Rice, Oilmeal, Carpet, Ceramic products & glassware, Oil seeds, Cereal preparations & miscellaneous processed items, Drugs & pharmaceuticals'...."
India's imports declined, falling by (-) 19.60 per cent to $30.31 billion in September from $37.69 billion reported for the corresponding month of 2019.
In August, imports declined by (-) 26.04 per cent to $29.47 billion from $39.85 billion reported for the corresponding month of 2019.
"Oil imports in September 2020 were $5.83 billion, which was 35.88 percent lower in Dollar terms, compared to $9.09 billion in September 2019," the statement said.
"Non-oil imports in September 2020 were estimated at $24.48 billion which was 14.43 per cent lower in Dollar terms compared to $28.61 billion in September 2019."
As per the statement, 'Non-Oil and Non-Gold' imports were $23.88 billion in September 2020, recording a negative growth of (-) 12.63 per cent, as compared to $27.33 billion in September 2019.
Consequently, India's trade deficit narrowed to $2.72 billion on a year-on-year basis in September from $11.67 billion reported for the corresponding month of last year.
The trade deficit had narrowed to $6.77 billion on a year-on-year basis in August from $13.86 billion reported for the corresponding month of last year.
"The month on month compression in the trade deficit in September 2020, was led by both the pickup in exports as well as the sharp drop in gold imports," ICRA's Principal Economist Aditi Nayar said.
"The reasonably broad-based pick up in merchandise exports in September 2020 has come as a relief, and signals on its sustainability are anxiously awaited in light of the second wave of covid-19 infections being experienced in many trading partners."
EEPC India Chairman Mahesh Desai said: "While the reversal in trend for merchandise exports turning into positive territory in September 2020 is a matter of relief, the challenges in the external trade would continue given the present state of global health emergency and its economic impact on the major economies."
"The engineering exports too have shown a positive trend of 5.44 per cent for September, although the major turnaround has come about thanks to a sharp increase in pharma exports, for understandable reasons."
Trade Promotion Council of India Chairman Mohit Singla said: "There is surge in demand of Indian rice, spices and vegetables including essential oils, soybean meal, cake and some extracts for medical use."
"The supportive domestic ecosystem created by policy push will further see Indian agri and food products surge in demand globally."