Trade deficit narrowed to $13.08 billion in December, the lowest in 10 months, due to a fall in gold imports, the trade ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. In November, the trade deficit was $16.67 billion.
In December, merchandise exports rose 0.34 per cent from a year earlier to $27.93 billion, while imports fell 2.44 per cent to $41.01 billion, data showed.
"There is virtually no growth in merchandise exports," said Ravi Sehgal, head of the Engineering Export Promotion Council, adding that US-China trade tensions and the global slowdown had started biting the shipments.
He said exports of engineering goods, estimated to contribute more than one fifth of total exports, had fallen by more than 3 per cent in December from the same period in the previous year.
"This is a matter of grave concern," Mr Sehgal said.
Gold imports declined by 24.33 per cent to $2.56 billion in December last year as against $3.39 billion in the same month of 2017, news agency Press Trust of India reported.