The country's exports grew 47.19 per cent to the "highest ever monthly figure" of $35.17 billion in July on account of healthy growth in petroleum, engineering, and gems and jewellery segments, even as trade deficit widened to $11.23 billion, as per provisional data of the commerce ministry released on Monday.
Imports during the month rose by 59.38 per cent to $46.40 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $11.23 billion.
"India is thus a net importer in July 2021 with a trade deficit of $11.23 billion, widened by 110.56 per cent over the trade deficit of $5.33 billion in July 2020," the ministry said in a statement.
Exports of petroleum, engineering, and gems and jewellery in July increased to $3.82 billion, $2.82 billion and $1.95 billion, respectively, the data showed.
However, exports of oilseeds, rice and meat, dairy and poultry products recorded negative growth in the month under review.
Imports of petroleum, crude, and products soared by 97 per cent to $6.35 billion.
Similarly, imports of gold zoomed 135.5 per cent to $2.42 billion, while pearls, precious and semi-precious stones inbound shipments stood at $1.68 billion in July.
However, imports of transport equipment, project goods and silver posted negative growth in the month.
Further, exports to the US, UAE and Belgium increased to $2.4 billion, $1.21 billion and $489 million in July.
Exports during April-July 2021-22 rose by 73.86 per cent year-on-year to $130.56 billion, as against $75.10 billion in the same period last year.
Imports during the first four months of the fiscal increased by 90.90 per cent to $172.53 billion.
"Till July, India's merchandise exports have achieved 32.64 per cent of $400 billion.
“Target for the remaining eight months is $269.44 billion or $33.68 billion per month," the commerce ministry said.
In July, oil imports rose by 9 per cent to $12.89 billion.
During April-July 2021, it has jumped by 122.43 per cent to $43.9 billion.
Commenting on the data, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president A Sakthivel said the global demand during this period has also remained buoyant as the order booking positions of the exporters have still been impressive.
"The need of the hour is to soon notify the RoDTEP (Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products) rates to remove uncertainty from the minds of the trade and industry, besides addressing some of the key issues including priority status to exports sector, release of the necessary funds for MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme), resolving risky exporters issues, and augmenting the flow of empty containers," he said.
Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters