A huge spike in gold imports pushed the trade deficit to USD 10.43 billion during the month under review from USD 4.4 billion a year ago.
Export growth touched an over five-year high of 27.6 per cent in March on account of better performance of petroleum and engineering sector, though the expansion during 2016-17 stood at only 4.7 per cent.
During the last fiscal, exports aggregated at USD 274.64 billion. In March, the outward shipments were at USD 29.23 billion.
The trade deficit in March, however, more than doubled to a four-month high of USD 10.43 billion due to surge in imports specially of gold.
While overall imports rose by 45.25 per cent to USD 39.7 billion, gold imports jumped to USD 4.17 billion in March as against USD 973.45 million in March 2016.
"In continuation with the double digit growth exhibited by exports during February, exports during March have shown a significant growth," the commerce ministry said in a statement.
Commenting on the figures, FIEO said it is an encouraging sign for exports as for the overall economy.
"We have recorded healthy growth in exports during such challenging times when currencies across the globe have been impacted because of the dwindling global trade," Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President Ganesh Gupta said.
The previous high in export growth was recorded at 36.3 percent in September 2011. In February also, the outward shipments had registered a double digit growth.
Exports during 2016-17 showed an upward trend after declining in the two consecutive financial years.
The main sectors that helped boost shipments include engineering, petroleum, textiles, chemicals, pharma, gems and jewellery, iron ore and marine products.
For the entire last fiscal, imports dipped 0.17 per cent to USD 380.3 billion, lowering trade deficit at USD 105.7 billion against USD 118.7 billion in 2015-16.
Oil imports grew by 101.43 per cent to USD 9.71 billion in March. Non-oil imports too increased by 33.21 per cent to USD 30 billion during the month.Cumulatively, oil imports during the April-March of last fiscal were valued at USD 86.45 billion, about 4.24 per cent higher than the previous year. Non-oil imports during theyear, however, declined by 1.39 per cent to USD 294 billion.The Great Diwali Discount!
Unlock 75% more savings this festive season. Get Moneycontrol Pro for a year for Rs 289 only.
Coupon code: DIWALI. Offer valid till 10th November, 2019 .