The country's exports went up 37.55 per cent to $245.86 billion during 2010-11, demonstrating robust demand for Indian merchandise not just in western economies, but in new markets like Latin America and Africa as well.
Imports, however, were higher at $350.69 billion in 2010-11, despite growing at a lower pace of 21.6 per cent amid increasing crude oil prices. This translates into a trade deficit of $104.82 billion for the 2010-11 year.
With respect to the month of March, India's exports rose by a handsome 43.85 per cent to $29.1 billion vis-a-vis the same month of the previous financial year, according to data released by the Commerce Ministry on Monday.
On the other hand, imports in March totalled $34.7 billion, up 17.27 per cent year-on-year.
The country's total merchandise trade has almost touched $600 billion - half of India's gross domestic product of $1.2 trillion.
Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said the government has not fixed any target for the current fiscal, but would continue to strive to increase shipments.
India aims to achieve merchandise exports of $450 billion by 2013-14. Sharma recently said a final strategy to almost double exports by 2013-14 will be released in the next few days.
The sectors which registered impressive growth include engineering, with exports rising by 84.7 per cent to $60 billion, followed by petroleum products at $42.5 billion (up 50.5 per cent). Similarly, gems and jewellery exports grew 15.4 per cent to $33.5 billion, while drugs and pharmaceuticals shipments rose by 15 per cent to $10.3 billion.
Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar has said while there has been an improvement in demand in the US and even in the EU, "My hunch is that export growth (also) came from new markets, particularly from Latin America."
In March, oil imports increased 8.2 per cent to $9.43 billion from $8.72 billion in the same period last year. Similarly, non-oil imports grew by 21 per cent during the month under review to $25.3 billion, against $20.9 billion in the corresponding period last year.
During April-March 2010-11, oil imports went up 16.7 per cent to $101.68 billion from $87.13 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Non-oil imports during the last financial year were valued at $249 billion, 23.7 per cent higher than the $201.2 billion figure for 2009-10.
The trade deficit during April-March 2010-11, stood at $104.82 billion, lower than the $109.62 billion deficit during April-March 2009-10.