New Delhi: Contracting for the eighth month in a row, India's exports were down 10.3 per cent in July to USD 23.13 billion, hit by global slowdown and dip in crude oil prices which impacted the value of petroleum products.
In July 2014, the merchandise exports had amounted to USD 25.79 billion. The last time exports registered a positive growth was in November, when shipments expanded at a rate of 7.27 per cent.
Imports, too, declined by 10.28 per cent to USD 35.94 billion in July this year due to fall in oil imports, leaving an 8-month high trade deficit of USD 12.81 billion, according to the data released by the Commerce Ministry.
Compared to July last year, when it was USD 14.27 billion, the deficit has narrowed.
The main exporting sectors which reported negative growth last month include petroleum products (about 43.22 per cent), leather and leather goods (10.15 per cent), marine products (17.6 per cent) and chemicals (6.22 per cent).
Exporters expressed concerns over the continuous decline but expects that from August things will improve.
"It is matter of concern as the decline is continuing. But going for the figures of 10 days in August, we are expecting a little turnaround in August. From September, there will be the impact of base effect," Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President S C Ralhan said.
The prime reason continues to be low prices of crude, metal and commodity, dip in manufacturing growth and slowdown in western markets, he said.
Also, oil imports dropped 34.91 per cent in July to USD 9.48 billion. Oil imports account for about 31 per cent of the total imports. Petroleum product exports account for 18 per cent of the country's total exports.
Non-oil imports, however, grew by 3.8 per cent to USD 26.46 billion.
Gold imports increased by 62.22 per cent to USD 2.96 billion in July.
During the first four months (April-July) of the current financial year, exports are down 15.04 per cent at USD 89.82 billion. Imports too have declined 12.01 per cent to USD 134.86 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of USD 45 billion.