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marchandise exportDeclining for 17th straight month in April, exports dipped by 6.74 per cent to USD 20.5 billion due to sharp fall in shipments of petroleum and engineering products amid tepid global demand.

Imports too dipped by 23.1 per cent to USD 25.41 billion in the month under review as against USD 33 billion in April 2015.

Trade deficit in April more than halved to USD 4.84 billion as compared to USD 11 billion in the same month last year.

“The trend of falling exports is in tandem with other major world economies. The growth in exports have fallen for USA (3.87 per cent), EU (0.04 per cent), China (25.34 per cent) and Japan (1.10 per cent) for February over the corresponding period of previous year as per WTO statistics,” the commerce ministry said in a statement while releasing the trade data.

Exports have been falling since December 2014 due to weak global demand and slide in oil prices.

Oil imports in April dipped by 24.01 per cent to USD 5.6 billion. Non-oil imports too fell by 22.83 per cent to USD 19.75 billion.

In April, overseas shipments of petroleum products shrank 28.15 per cent to USD 1.97 billion, while that of engineering goods declined by 19 per cent to USD 4.76 billion. These two sectors contribute significant in the country’s total exports.

The other sectors which reported negative growth in the first month of the current fiscal includes carpet, leather, rice and cashew.

However, exports of tea, coffee, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals recorded positive growth.

For whole 2015-16 financial year ended March 31, exports declined by 15.8 per cent to five-year low of USD 261.13 billion due to fragile global demand and low commodity prices.