India’s exports grew by 19.8% in April while imports jumped 49.1%, government data showed on Monday, indicating a faster industrial expansion and revival of consumer demand especially for gold.
Imports growth accelerated from 45.3% rise in March while exports growth slowed from 27.6% in a month ago.
However, a faster growth in imports widened the trade to $13.25 billion, which is almost three times the amount in the same month last year.
In April, imports of gold surged 211% to $3.57 billion while oil was up 30.1% ($7.36 billion), coal 94.9% ($1.87 billion) and electronic goods 74% ($4.44 billion).
Exports were mainly driven by a 48.8% rise in the shipment of petroleum products at $2.95 billion, while engineering goods were up 28.2% at $6.11 billion, gems and jewellery 15% ($3.97 billion).
During 2016-17, India’s exports grew at its fastest pace in five years by 4.7% to $274.65 billion despite the demonetisation drive that slowed domestic economic activity since November.
The Narendra Modi government is aiming at lifting India’s share in global exports to 5% by 2020, from just 1.6% now.
But rising protectionism in countries such as the United States is threatening to keep exports subdued.
Faster exports growth raises chances of some industrial recovery even as domestic demand was crimped by the demonetisation.
India’s stats office estimated GDP growth at 7.1% for 2016-17, much slower than 7.9% in 2015-16.
The finance ministry expects growth to rebound to about 7.5%.