India registered a trade deficit of $11 billion ($10,992.30 million) in April 2015, the first month of the current financial year, which was higher than the deficit of $10.09 billion during April 2014, as India's exports continued to slump for the fifth straight month, dragged down by a fall in global demand.
The country imported goods and services valued at $33.05 billion (Rs2,07,380.63 crore) in April 2015, which was 7.48 per cent lower in dollar terms and 3.81 per cent lower in rupee terms over the level of imports valued at $35.72 billion (Rs2,15,593.93 crore) in April 2014.
Merchandise exports during April 2015 were valued at $22.05 billion (Rs1,38,400.44 crore), which was 13.96 per cent lower in dollar terms and 10.55 per cent lower in rupee terms compared to the level of $25.63 billion (Rs1,54,718.60 crore) during April 2014.
The trade deficit would have been higher than $10.99 billion but for the decline in the value of oil imports by more than 42 per cent from a year earlier, data released by commerce and industry ministry showed.
Oil imports during April 2015 were valued at $7.44 billion, which was 42.65 per cent lower than oil imports valued at $12.98 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Non-oil imports during April 2015 were estimated at $25.60 billion, which was 12.58 per cent higher than non-oil imports of $22.74 billion in April 2014.
The failure to boost trade has cast a shadow over the Narendra Modi government's goal of achieving over 8 per cent growth in 2015-16 fiscal.
The continued weakness in merchandise exports, which account for about 16 per cent of India's roughly $2 trillion economy, will weigh on the country's economic growth.
Exporters, however, see no respite as falling global commodity and crude oil prices have so far failed to offset lower overseas sales. They fear the continued fall in demand, particularly in oil exporting and Latin American countries, could worsen the situation.