India's merchandise exports rose to $38.13 billion in May from a year earlier, helped by an increase in shipments of engineering goods, commercial vehicles and smartphones, government data showed on Friday.

Merchandise imports in the same month rose to $61.91 billion - widening the trade deficit to $23.78 billion, lower than economists' expectation of $19.5 billion, according to a Reuters poll.

In April, the trade deficit was $19.1 billion. (Reporting by Shivangi Acharya and Manoj Kumar; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)