Several months of rising exports have helped India bring down its current account deficit to a manageable level, and despite the weaker data in February, it is likely to beat last fiscal year's total of $300 billion in merchandise exports.
In the first 11 months of the 2013/14 fiscal year that ends on March 31, India's exports were $282.8 billion, up 4.79 percent from the same period a year ago, data released on the trade ministry website showed. But it is unlikely to export enough in March to reach the trade ministry's $325 billion target
"The momentum of export growth has been lost when we were about to reach the final goal-post," said Anupam Shah, chairman of the Engineering Exporters' body, EEPC India. "At this rate, there is no way we can achieve the target of $325 billion in the current fiscal year."
In February, exports fell 3.67 percent from a year earlier to $25.69 billion, compared with 3.8 percent growth in January.
Analysts say exports, which contribute nearly 16 percent to the gross domestic product, have slowed in part because of a stronger rupee.
The trade deficit, however, continued to fall in February, driven by a decline in the oil import bill and curbs on gold, the country's second-most expensive overseas purchase after oil. Overall imports fell 17.09 percent year-on-year to $33.82 billion, the data showed.
Falling imports will further ease pressure on the country's current account balance.The current account deficit narrowed to $4.2 billion, or 0.9 percent of gross domestic product in December quarter, from 6.5 percent, or $31.9 billion, a year earlier.
The trade deficit for the first 11 months of the fiscal year declined by more than $51 billion from a year ago to $128 billion.