India's exports growth remained subdued at 6.7 per cent year-on-year in December on account of poor demand in Europe and the US, but the government is hopeful of achieving its $300 billion target for the current fiscal.
Though growth during the month under review was not robust, it was higher than in November, when overseas shipments grew by just 3.8 per cent.
In sharp contrast, imports grew at a faster pace of 19.8 per cent year-on-year to $37.8 billion in December, translating into a trade deficit of $12.8 billion, Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar said.
During the April-December period this fiscal, exports aggregated to $217.6 billion, a year-on-year growth of 25.8 per cent, thanks to the surge witnessed in the early months of the fiscal.
From a peak of 82 per cent in July, export growth slipped to 44.25 per cent in August, 36.36 per cent in September and 10.8 per cent in October.
"If you get $80 billion exports in the remaining quarter (January-March, 2012), you are looking at close to $300 billion. And imports may touch about $460 billion," Khullar said.
Experts opined that the country's exports growth for the entire fiscal will stand at about 20 per cent.
During the first three quarters of the current fiscal, imports were up by 30.4 per cent at $350.9 billion. The trade deficit stood at $133.3 billion during the period.
"At current reckoning, provided that exports pick up in the next three months, you are looking trade deficit in the neighbourhood of $155-160 billion," he said.
However, he noted that an expected improvement in business and investor confidence and a somewhat stable domestic currency would work in favour of the country's shipments.
"If you will get anywhere between a 20-25 per cent growth rate in 2012-13, I will be more than happy. But it is too early to say," he said.
On the export target of $ 500 billion by 2013-14, he said if demand does not improve in Europe and the US in the coming months, it will be difficult to achieve the target.