Merchandise exports fell marginally by 0.8 per cent to $26.89 billion in December 2020, contracting for the third straight month, amid a registered decline in sectors such as petroleum, leather, and marine products. According to merchandise trade preliminary data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Saturday, January 2, the trade deficit reported last month, widened to $15.71 billion, as imports grew by 7.6 per cent to $42.6 billion. The country's merchandise imports in December were $42.60 billion, as compared to $39.59 billion in the corresponding month of 2019, registering an increase of 7.6 per cent. According to the government, India was a net importer in December 2020, with a $15.71 billion trade deficit, as compared to the trade deficit of $12.49 billion in the same month of 2019, recording an increase of 25.78 per cent.
The value of non-petroleum exports was $24.73 billion last month, registering a growth of 5.33 per cent over the same month of 2019. The value of non-petroleum and non-gems, as well as jewelry exports, was $22.15 billion last month as compared to $21.06 billion in the same month of 2019, recording a growth of 5.17 per cent. Oil imports were $9.61 billion, as compared to $10.72 billion in December 2019, recording a decline by 10.37 per cent. Non-oil imports were estimated at $33.0 billion in December 2020, as compared to $28.88 billion in the same month of 2019, registering an increase of 14.27 per cent.
Merchandise exports during the period of April-December were $200.55 billion, as compared to $238.27 billion during the corresponding period last year, recording a negative growth of 15.8 per cent. The top five commodity groups of export that registered positive growth in December 2020 as compared to the same month last year other cereals, oil meals, iron ore, cereal preparations and the miscellaneous processed items, jute manufacturing including floor covering.
Whereas, the top five commodity groups of import that recorded a decline in December 2020 as compared to the same month last year are silver, newsprint, leather and leather products, transport equipment, cotton raw, and waste.