India's exports grew by 67.39 per cent to $32.21 billion in May driven by healthy growth in sectors such as engineering, petroleum products and gems and jewellery, even as trade deficit widened to $6.32 billion, according to government data released on Wednesday.
Exports in May last year stood at $19.24 billion and in May 2019 it was at $29.85 billion, the commerce ministry's preliminary data showed.
Imports in May rose by 68.54 per cent to $38.53 billion, from $22.86 billion in May 2020. In May 2019, imports stood at $46.68 billion.
"India is thus a net importer in May 2021 with a trade deficit of $6.32 billion, an increase of 74.69 per cent over trade deficit $3.62 billion in May 2020 and reduction by 62.49 per cent over trade deficit $16.84 billion in May 2019," the ministry said.
The country's merchandise exports in April had jumped nearly three-fold to $30.63 billion, even as the trade deficit widened to $15.1 billion.
Oil imports during May this year rose to $9.45 billion, as compared to $3.57 billion in May 2020.
In May 2019, it stood at $12.59 billion.
Exports during Apr-May this year have jumped to $62.84 billion, as against $29.6 billion in the same period last year.
It was $55.88 billion in Apr-May 2019, the data showed.
Imports during Apr-May 2021 was $84.25 billion, up from $39.98 billion in April-May 2020.
In Apr-May 2019 it stood at $89.07 billion.
In Apr-May 2021, oil imports aggregated at $20.32 billion, up from $8.24 billion in Apr-May 2020.
In Apr-May 2019 it was $24.16 billion.
Exports of engineering, petroleum products and gems and jewellery in May stood at $3 billion, $3.51 billion and $1.9 billion respectively.
Commenting on the data, Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) founder-chairman Mohit Singla said that the fall in the import of newsprint, transport equipment and iron and steel is a welcome trend towards self-reliance, as it shows that the government's import substitution strategy has strongly worked for these sectors.
The Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) said that shipments in the sector saw a substantial year-on-year rise in May primarily on account of low-base due to strict lockdown in the same month last year.
"We expect the order book of exporters to remain strong in the current financial year given the demand trend from key markets such as US, China and Europe," it said in a statement.