New Delhi, May 15: Raising fresh concerns about economic growth, India's exports contracted by about 14 per cent in April to USD 22 billion due to a sharp dip in petroleum, gems and jewelery shipments, registering decline for the fifth straight month.
The slump in exports is mainly due to global slowdown and softening of crude, metal and commodity prices. In April 2014, the country's merchandise exports stood at USD 25.63 billion. The last time exports registered positive growth was in November last year when 7.27 per cent expansion was recorded.
The main exporting sectors, including petroleum products (-46.5 per cent), gems and jewelery (-10 per cent) and man-made yarn and fabrics (-8.3 per cent), reported negative growth in April.
"The prime reason continues to be softening of crude, metal and commodity prices. Equally worrying is negative growth in gems & jewellery, electronics and plastic goods," Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO said).
Imports too declined by 7.48 per cent to USD 33 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 11 billion in the month under review, according to the data released by the commerce ministry. Oil imports dipped 42.65 per cent during April to USD 7.44 billion.
Non-oil imports grew by 12.58 per cent to USD 25.6 billion. Gold imports surged by 78.33 per cent to USD 3.13 billion as against USD 1.75 billion in the month under review.
In March, country's exports contracted by 21 per cent, the biggest fall in the last six years. India had missed the annual exports of target of USD 340 billion for 2014-15. Last year, exports stood at USD 310.5 billion.