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Indian Exports Shrank in March for First Time Since 2009

(Corrects headline, first paragraph to remove reference to historical low for export growth after ministry revised data in story originally published yesterday.)

May 1 (Bloomberg) -- Indian exports fell in March as Europe’s debt crisis and slower Chinese growth hurt demand.

Merchandise shipments dropped 5.7 percent from a year earlier to $28.7 billion, the government said in a statement in New Delhi today. Imports rose 24.3 percent to $42.6 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $13.9 billion.

India’s trade deficit surged to a record $184.9 billion in the fiscal year ended March 31 as elevated crude oil prices stoked import bills and a struggling global recovery hurt exports. The rupee has slumped about 16 percent in the past year against the dollar as the trade gap widened, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“The fragile global economy doesn’t augur well for Indian exports,” Rupa Rege Nitsure, an economist at state-owned Bank of Baroda in Mumbai, said before the report. “The widening trade deficit and slowing economic growth pose significant risks to India’s macroeconomic stability.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Kartik Goyal in New Delhi at kgoyal@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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