India’s exports rose around 11% to $11.8 billion during the first fortnight of 2021, while imports went up about 6.6% to $18 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of over $6 billion. Exports climbed 5.6% during the second week of January after an over 16% rise during the previous seven-day period, led by a jump of more than 20% in the shipments of drugs, pharma and engineering goods — two traditional strong points for the country. In fact, engineering goods contributed over 82% of the increase during the second week, led by a surge in exports to the US and the UK.

But a large chunk of the rise was offset by a fall in export of petroleum products, which fell 91% due to lower demand from the UAE and the Netherlands. During the second week, imports grew 12.3% or by $1 billion due to a surge in gold consignments, which shot up by 144%, partly due to higher prices. The yellow metal contributed to 44% of the increase.