New Delhi: On the back of growing demand from US and other markets, India's exports surged by an impressive 50 per cent in February. The exports crossed the USD 200 billion mark during the first eleven months of 2010-11.

Rising by 49.7 per cent year-on-year during February to USD 23.5 billion, exports took the April-February 2010-11 figure to USD 208.2 billion, an increase of 31.4 per cent over the year-ago period and past the yearly target of USD 200 billion.

Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar had said that going by this trend, the country's exports are expected to touch the figures of USD 230-235 billion. Imports may end up to USD 350 billion and balance of trade to USD 105-115 billion by the end of 2010-11.

The exporting sectors which performed well during the 11 months of fiscal include engineering (81 per cent), petroleum and oil lubricants (34 per cent), cotton yarn and made-ups (43 per cent), chemicals (22 per cent) and electronics (40 per cent).

"The growth which we are seeing is basically from the markets of Asia, Latin America and Africa. In these new markets demand for our products are increasing," Ramu Deora, the President of India's apex exporters body FIEO, said.

However, Deora said that demand is still weak in several European markets.

According to the exports data released by Commerce Ministry on Friday, imports also witnessed an increase by 21.2 per cent in the month under review to USD 31.7 billion, leaving a trade deficit of USD 8.1 billion.

During April-February 2010-11, imports grew by 18 per cent to USD 305.3 billion over the same period last year. The trade gap for the period stood at USD 97 billion.

The US and Europe were the traditional markets for Indian exporters, but after the global economic crisis, exporters increased their engagement in new markets of Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Oil imports in February fell by 0.3 per cent to USD 8.21 billion from USD 8.24 billion in February 2010. However, non-oil imports grew by 31 per cent to USD 23.48 billion from USD 17.9 billion.

During April-February, 2010-11, oil imports increased by 12.4 per cent to USD 88.17 billion from USD 78.41 billion in the same period last year, the data said.

Non-oil imports during the period also went up, by 20.4 per cent to USD 217.12 billion from USD 180.33 billion in the corresponding period last year.