India’s merchandise shipments in September rose at its fastest pace in two years, clocking a rise of 23%, or approximately $18 billion, but the rate of increase in imports outpaced this growth to stir concerns over a widening trade gap. Exports aggregated $103.3 billion in the April-September period, marking a 27.6% increase from the year-ago period. Little wonder that commerce minister Anand Sharma said the country is on track to surpass the export target of $200 billion for the current fiscal. “In the first six months, we have done well. We are very much on track to cross $200 billion,” Sharma said. Releasing the figures, commerce secretary Rahul Khullar said the growth could be partly attributed to the low base in the previous year and increasing prices. He said September was the “first month in which exports were higher than (for a particular month) 2008-09”. Exports had recorded a 22.5% growth in August at $16.64 billion. Imports too jumped by a higher rate of 32.2% to $29.7 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $13.06 billion. Exporters, meanwhile, are hopeful of topping the target but say rupee volatility and high cost of credit are matters of concern. On Monday, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president A Sakthivel suggested that the RBI place restriction on the minimum period of investment by FII of at least 12 months as a measure to check volatility.