December trade deficit narrows to $17.7 billion, exports fall 1.9 percent

NEW DELHI Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:28pm IST

Mobile cranes prepare to stack containers at Thar Dry Port in Sanand in Gujarat October 1, 2012. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

Mobile cranes prepare to stack containers at Thar Dry Port in Sanand in Gujarat October 1, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Amit Dave/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's trade deficit narrowed to $17.7 billion in December from $19.3 billion in November, even after exports fell for the eighth straight month, a trade ministry official said on Friday.

Exports totalled $24.88 billion in December, down 1.9 percent on year. Imports, however, were up 6.3 percent at $42.5 billion. For the first three quarters of the fiscal year ending in March, exports totalled $214.1 billion, down 5.5 percent from a year ago.

The weakness of the export sector, which makes up one-fifth of the Indian economy, has swollen a current account deficit that hit an all time high of 5.4 percent of gross domestic product in the July-September quarter and has added to pressure on the rupee.

(Reporting by Matthias Williams and Arup Roychoudhury; Writing by Rajesh Kumar Singh)

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