Official data released on Wednesday showed a 57.18% rise in imports leaving an all-time trade deficit of $23.27 billion compared to $10.19 billion in November 2020.
“The holidays in the festive season have substantially dented the momentum in merchandise exports in November, bringing them down to the lowest level of FY22,” said Aditi Nayar, chief economist, ICRA.
Exports of gems and jewellery fell 11% while those of pharmaceuticals dropped 7%.
Imports were $53.15 billion last month and gold imports rose 39.67% at $4.2 billion.
In the first eight months of the fiscal, exports increased 50.71% at $262.46 billion while imports rose 75.39% at $384.44 billion.
“This performance showcases the continuous resilience of India’s exports sector. The enthusiasm with which the Exim community has impressively performed during the year has further given a boost to the sector,” said A Sakthivel, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations.
Value of non-petroleum exports in November was $26.06 billion, registering a growth of 18.1% over the same period in 2020 and a growth of 18.69% at $21.95 billion in November 2019, the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.
Value of non-petroleum imports was $38.47 billion, up 39.9% year-on-year and 40.12% higher than November 2019.
Desai said there are downside risks in the wake of new variant of concern but given the experience of handling the virus for almost two years now, countries would unlikely resort to stringent border movement restrictions.
“In that case we don’t see the ongoing export flow getting disrupted,” Desai said.
“We are cautiously optimistic that the exports momentum will revive, although the uncertainty engendered by the Omicron variant poses a concern regarding the immediate outlook,” said Nayar.
Non-oil, non-gems and jewellery imports, an indicator of the strength of domestic demand, rose 49.52% on-year.