According to data released by the commerce ministry here, imports contracted by 18.10 percent to USD 34.44 billion in September, leaving a monthly trade deficit of USD 6.76 billion. This is the lowest trade deficit since March 2011.
Trade deficit was recorded at USD 10.9 billion in August and USD 12.27 billion in the previous month.
Trade deficit has dropped sharply in the recent months due to lower imports of gold and other precious metals.
Talking to reporters here, Commerce Secretary S.R. Rao said lower imports of non-essential commodities like gold have helped narrow the trade gap.
"The government has taken conscious steps to curtail imports of non-essential commodities, essentially precious metals," Rao said.
"That is working out as the government intended," he added.
Cumulative trade deficit for the first six months of the current financial year has dropped to USD 80.12 billion, as compared to USD 91.82 billion recorded in the same period last year.
Lower trade deficit is raising hope for a significant reduction in the country's current account deficit, a major macro-economic problem that has created huge volatility in the currency and equities markets.
Value of exports for April-September period of this year stood at USD 152.10 billion, 5.14 percent higher than the USD 144.67 billion exports registered during the corresponding period of last year.
Cumulative value of imports for the first six months of the current financial year is USD 232.23 billion as compared to USD 236.49 billion recorded in the same period last year, registering a decline of 1.8 percent.
--IANS (Posted on 09-10-2013)