New Delhi: India's exports grew by 10.1 percent year-on-year in January to USD 25.34 billion despite weak demand in the Western markets, reversing a declining trend shown since the peak of July 2011.

However, the exports growth rate was a marginal increase over December 2011. The shipments had grown by 6.7 percent year-on-year in December 2011.

Imports grew at a faster rate of 20.25 percent to USD 40.1 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 14.76 billion, according to the Commerce Ministry data released here on Thursday.

From a peak of 82 percent in July 2011, export growth has slipped to 44.25 percent in August 2011, 36.36 percent in September 2011 and 10.8 percent in October last year.

But, for the cumulative April-January period, exports aggregated to USD 242.79 billion showing a healthy growth of 23.47 percent, thanks to sterling trend witnessed in the previous months of the current fiscal.

Imports during the 10-month period stood at USD 391.45 billion, an increase of 29.4 percent. The trade gap aggregated to USD 148.66 billion.

Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar has said that the exports and imports may touch about USD 300 billion and USD 460 billion, respectively. The balance of trade would be around USD 160 billion. He has also cautioned that the exporters community would face demand problem in 2012-13 as well. FIEO President Rafeeque Ahmed said the figures clearly indicate that 2012 would be a difficult year for exports in view of growing uncertainty in the euro-zone area, slacking of demand in other advance economies and third country effect on India's exports to emerging economies.

Oil imports in January were valued at USD 12.32 billion which was 26.78 percent higher than in January 2011. Non-oil imports during the month increased by 17.56 percent to USD 27.78 billion.

During April-January, 2011-12, oil imports went up by 38.83 percent to USD 117.91 billion from USD 84.93 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Non-oil imports was up by 25.71 percent to USD 273.54 billion over the same period last year.