India's exports grew for the fourth consecutive month recording a growth of 1.6 per cent in April but a surge in gold imports pushed up the trade deficit to $17.7 billion.
Exports in April stood at $24.16 billion, against $23.7 billion in the year-ago period.
Gold and silver imports during the month under review has increased by 138 per cent to $7.5 billion from $3.1 billion in April 2012.
"Imports has seen an undue growth of 10.9 per cent (in April to $41.95 billion) largely contributed by significant increase in gold imports," Commerce Secretary SR Rao said.
After declining for consecutive eight months from May 2012, India's exports entered positive zone in January 2013. However, the trade deficit during that month touched the second highest figure ever at $20 billion.
Trade gap had since come down to $14.9 billion in February and $10.3 billion in March.
Expressing concern over the ballooning trade deficit in April, Rao said the government would take steps to bridge the gap.
"Government sees this growing trade imbalance with concern and would be taking into stock this heavy import of gold and would come out with considered steps as how to contain this growing trade deficit," he added.
On the steps to discourage gold imports, Director General of Foreign Trade Anup Pujari said the government has imposed certain duty but the steep fall in prices have neutralised its impact.
"...gold imports have been so much, it is not an accepted thing. In fact all of us must have been taken it by surprise," Pujari added.
Besides gold and silver, imports of crude oil, metals and scraps, and chemicals grew by 4 per cent, 52 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.
With inputs from PTI