"It is only one product group which has contributed to (slower growth in exports) and that is petroleum products. There has been an unplanned maintenance shutdown in one of our largest exporters of the country - Reliance Industries," Commerce Secretary S R Rao said today.
India's exports stood at $26.3 billion in December compared with $25.4 billion in the same month of 2012. Petroleum exports, which contribute significantly to the country's trade basket, declined 16 per cent last month.
However, a 15.25 per cent decline in imports to $36.4 billion, particularly in gold and silver shipments, helped to narrow the trade deficit to $10.1 billion in December. In November, the trade gap was $9.21 billion.
Inward shipments of gold and silver dipped 68.8 per cent to $1.77 billion from $5.6 billion in December last year, although they were higher than $1.05 billion in November.
Oil imports grew 1.1 per cent to $13.89 billion during the month.
Rao said that barring petroleum products, all other sectors such as engineering, textiles and chemicals have shown reasonable healthy growth.
Commenting on the figures, Rafeeq Ahmed, President of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations, said efforts are required to keep export growth in double-digits.
During April-December, exports aggregated $230.3 billion and imports $340.3 billion, while the trade deficit was about $110 billion.