Import also expanded 18.09 per cent at $37.6 billion in September against $31.83 billion in the same period past year, according to data released by the commerce ministry on Friday.
India's external trade turned positive, perhaps for the first time, with growth in exports surpassing that of imports for the first time, in September 2017, bringing festive cheer for exporters and policy-makers.
In absolute terms, India's exports were pegged at $28.6 billion dollars in September against $22.8 billion a year ago, according to data released by the commerce department on Friday.
Responding to the positive figures, Ganesh Gupta, President of Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) in a press interview said that the figures indicate a slight sign of relief for the sector. The government has already eased GST rules for exporters to reduce transition pains and speed up refunds. Major commodity groups that showed high import growth in September 2017 over the corresponding year-ago period are petroleum, crude & products (18.47 per cent); electronic goods (40.9 per cent); pearls, precious & semi-precious stones (56.91 per cent); machinery electrical & non-electrical (16.36 per cent); and coal, coke & briquettes (48 per cent).
The data further revealed that the imports grew but at a slower pace as compared to the exports, thus paving way for a narrower trade deficit for the country. The increase in exports was driven by a broad-based performance, with 26 of 30 categories posting positive growth. India's services trade surplus declined 5.3% to US$ 5.04 billion in August 2017 from US$ 5.33 billion in August 2016.
Cumulative exports during April-September 2017-18 increased by 11.52 per cent to $147.18 billion, while imports grew by 25.08 per cent to $219.31 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $72.12 billion.
Based on the persistently high growth of merchandise imports, ICRA expects the current account deficit (CAD) to more than double to $7.5-8.5 billion in Q2 FY2018 from $3 billion in Q2 FY2017. Iron ore has in recent years been the biggest export, while cotton is another fast-growing export commodity.
The trade deficit, too, narrowed in September by 0.95 per cent to $8.98 billion against 9.07 billion in September past year, but the overall trade deficit during the April-September 2017-18 period stood at $72.13 billion.