India's December merchandise exports rose to $37.81 billion, higher by 38.91 per cent on a year-on-year basis, official data showed on Friday.
Exports during December 2020 stood at $27.22 billion.
The data by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry showed that in comparison to December 2019, last month's exports rose by 39.47 per cent.
"Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in December 2021 were $28.92 billion, registering a positive growth of 29.67 per cent over non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports of $22.30 billion in December 2020," the ministry said.
In comparison to December 2019, non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in December 2021 registered a positive growth of 37.31 per cent.
Similarly, India's merchandise imports in December 2021 increased by 38.55 per cent over last year to $59.48 billion from $42.93 billion.
The ministry data showed that last month's exports rose by 50.24 per cent in comparison to December 2019.
"Non-petroleum, non-gems and jewellery (gold, silver and precious metals) imports were $35.47 billion in December 2021 with a positive growth of 34.28 per cent over non-petroleum, non-gems and jewellery imports of $26.41 billion in December 2020 and a positive growth of 47.32 per cent over non-petroleum, non-gems and jewellery imports of $24.07 billion in December 2019."
Consequently, the trade deficit widened by 37.92 per cent on a year-on-year basis to $21.68 billion in December 2021 from $15.72 billion in the like period of 2020. It had widened to $12.49 billion in December 2019.
ICRA's Chief economist Aditi Nayar said: "While the merchandise trade deficit in December 2021 pulled back from the levels seen in September 2021 and November 2021, benefitting from high exports ahead of the Christmas season, non-oil non-gold imports climbed very sharply.
"The surge in non-oil non-precious imports in December 2021 was led by electronic goods, fertilisers, chemicals and coal, all of which reported a YoY increase of more than $1 billion. While the improvement in exports was fairly broad-based, nearly 40 per cent of the YoY increase in non-oil exports was on account of engineering goods."
EEPC India Chairman Mahesh Desai said: "While the order pipeline has been remarkably good, we could see some slowdown in case Omicron disrupts the global supply chain.
"In recent weeks, we have seen some signs of volatility and uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic wave across the world but by putting suitable policy measures in place the government could provide a cushion to the trade and business."
FIEO President A. Sakthivel said that though the government has announced a slew of measures to support exports, the need of the hour is to soon announce extension of the interest equalisation scheme and allow transfer of 'MEIS' and expand usages of 'RoDTEP' and 'RoSCTL' scrips.