India's merchandise exports jumped 21.35 percent to USD 33.44 billion in September on a year-on-year basis, mainly due to better performance by key sectors like engineering goods and petroleum products, according to preliminary data released by the government on Friday. In September, merchandise imports stood at USD 56.38 billion, an increase of 84.75 percent compared to the year-ago period. The same was at more than USD 30.52 billion in the same period a year ago. It is also up 49.58 percent over September 2019 when it had totalled USD 37.69 billion.The trade deficit in September was at USD 22.94 billion as gold imports jumped nearly 750 percent to USD 5.11 billion. As per the preliminary data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the trade deficit, which is the gap between imports and exports, works out to be USD 78.81 billion during April-September period. "India's merchandise exports in September 2021 was USD 33.44 billion, an increase of 21.35 percent over USD 27.56 billion in September 2020 and an increase of 28.51 percent over USD 26.02 billion in September 2019," it said.Exports of engineering goods stood at USD 9.42 billion, up 36.7 percent over September 2020. The outward shipments of petroleum is estimated at USD 4.91 billion in September 2021, an increase of 39.32 percent over the year-ago month. Outward shipments of 'gems and jewellery' were 19.71 percent higher at USD 3.23 billon.However, exports of 'drugs and pharmaceuticals' registered a decline of 8.47 percent. The imports of 'petroleum, crude and products' soared nearly 200 per cent to USD 17.436 billion in September on an annual basis.The data also showed that imports of 'coal, coke and briquettes' were up 82.89 percent at USD 2.18 billion in September 2021 over the same month last year. The ministry said the value of non-petroleum exports in September was USD 28.53 billion, a growth of 18.72 percent over the year-ago period and 26.32 percent higher compared to September 2019.The value of non-petroleum imports was at USD 38.95 billion in September, an increase of 57.73 percent compared to the same period a year ago, and 36.14 percent over September 2019. As per the data, the value of non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery exports in September was at USD 25.29 billion, registering a growth of 18.59 percent year-on-year.The exports in the first half of the fiscal (April-September 2021) stood at USD 197.11 billion. This is an increase of 56.92 percent over USD 125.61 billion in the year-ago period and 23.84 percent compared to April-September 2019.