India's exports rose to a five-month high of 11% in March on account of higher growth mainly in pharma, chemicals and engineering sectors, marking the outbound shipments at $331 billion for FY 2018-19, official data showed.
Merchandise exports in March stood at $32.55 billion as against $29.32 billion in the same month last year. This is the best growth rate for exports since october 2018, when shipments grew by 17.86%.
Imports rose by 1.44% to $43.44 billion in March 2019.
However, trade deficit -- the difference between exports and imports -- narrows to $10.89 billion during the month under review as compared to $13.51 billion in March 2018.
Oil and gold imports rose by 5.55% and 31.22% to $11.75 billion and $3.27 billion, respectively in March 2019.
For the full fiscal (2018-19), imports rose by 8.99% to $507.44 billion, widening the trade deficit to $176.42 billion as against $162 billion in 2017-18.
"Through secular growth over the last three financial years, following the major downturn in the face of the global slowdown, merchandise exports for 2018-19 are estimated at $331.02 billion, the highest ever, surpassing the earlier peak of $314.4 billion achieved in 2013-14. This has been achieved in a challenging global environment," the commerce ministry said in a statement.
During the full fiscal, the sectors which recorded healthy growth include petroleum (28%), plastic (25.6%), chemicals (22%), pharmaceuticals (11%) and engineering (6.36%).
Data showed that oil imports in April-March 2018-19 grew by 29.27% to $140.47 billion, while non-oil imports were up by 2.82% to $366.97 billion during that fiscal.