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New Delhi, Jan 14 (PTI) The country’s exports in December 2021 surged 38.91 per cent on an annual basis to USD 37.81 billion, the highest-ever monthly figure, due to healthy performance by sectors such as engineering, textiles and chemicals, even as the trade deficit widened to USD 21.68 billion during the month, government data showed on Friday.

Imports in December 2021 also increased 38.55 per cent to USD 59.48 billion, on account of an increase in petroleum and crude oil imports, which soared 67.89 per cent to USD 16.16 billion.

Gold imports expanded by 5.43 per cent to USD 4.72 billion.

During April-December 2021-22, exports rose 49.66 per cent to USD 301.38 billion.

Imports during the period surged 68.91 per cent to USD 443.82 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 142.44 billion, the data showed. The trade deficit in December 2020 was USD 15.72 billion.

“Merchandise exports in December 2021 were USD 37.81 billion, as compared to USD 27.22 billion in December 2020, exhibiting a positive growth of 38.91 per cent. As compared to December 2019, exports in December 2021 exhibited a positive growth of 39.47 per cent,” the commerce ministry said in a statement.

In December 2021, exports of engineering goods grew 38.41 per cent to USD 9.8 billion, followed by petroleum products (151 per cent to USD 5.88 billion), gems and jewellery (16.4 per cent to about USD 3 billion), chemicals (26.86 per cent to USD 2.66 billion) and ready-made garments of all textiles (22.63 per cent to USD 1.46 billion).

The data also stated that the estimated value of services export for December 2021 was USD 20.07 billion, an increase of 5.26 per cent over the same month of 2020. The imports also rose by 15.76 per cent to USD 12.87 billion.

“The estimated value of services export for April-December 2021 is USD 177.68 billion, exhibiting a positive growth of 18.39 per cent vis-a-vis April-December 2020 (USD 150.09 billion).

“The estimated value of services imports for April-December 2021 is USD 103.30 billion exhibiting a positive growth of 21.52 per cent vis-à-vis April-December 2020 (USD 85 billion),” it added.

Commenting on the numbers, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President A Sakthivel said that looking at the current trend, India will achieve the USD 400-billion merchandise exports target for the fiscal. PTI RR HRS hrs