Export growth eased to a five-month low of 5.86 per cent in November due to a fall in shipments of petroleum goods and rough diamonds, although the trade deficit narrowed as gold imports declined.
"Three product categories (petroleum goods, gems and jewellery and pharmaceuticals) have pulled down our exports," Commerce Secretary S R Rao said, adding that these sectors have a major contribution in the country's export basket.
India's exports stood at USD 24.6 billion in November 2013 as against USD 23.25 billion in the same month last year.
However, a 16.3 per cent decline in imports particularly gold and silver during the month helped in narrowing the trade deficit to USD 9.21 billion in November, which is second lowest level during the ongoing fiscal.
In September, the trade gap fell to USD 6.76 billion.
Imports in November stood at USD 33.83 billion, which is the lowest figure since March 2011. Trade deficit in November 2012 was at USD 17.2 billion.
Gold and silver imports in November dipped by 80.49 per cent to USD 1.05 billion from USD 5.4 billion in the same period last year. Oil imports too dipped by 1.1 per cent to USD 12.96 billion during the month.
Rao said that gems and jewellery exports declined due to increase in the prices of rough diamonds.
"The cost of rough diamonds have gone up significantly as a result of which traders did not purchase the diamonds during November. And as regards to petroleum products, I believe couple of refineries were shut (due to maintenance). Also, there has been reduction in pharmaceutical exports," he said.
Commenting on the figures, Apparel Export Promotion Council Chairman A Sakthivel said in the coming months exports would pick up fast.
In April-November 2013, exports grew by 6.27 per cent to USD 204 billion while imports aggregated at USD 304 billion. Trade deficit for the period stands at USD 100 billion.