The government on Tuesday said that the value of India’s exports for 2009-10 may fall short of the previous year’s figures on account of the global economic downturn, but will cross the $170 billion mark.

The country’s exports in 2008-09 had amounted to $185 billion.

“Though I sincerely hope that it (exports in 2009-10) turns out to be well in excess of $170 billion, we can expect a shortfall,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told reporters at the sidelines of a FICCI function here. In terms of percentage, the shortfall is likely to be in single digits, he added.

The official trade data for 2009-10 is likely to be released later this week.

Due to the global slowdown, the country’s exports kept contracting for 13 months in a row since October 2008. The dip was at its worst at 39 per cent in May 2009. It, however, entered into positive territory in November last year.

“...much of the growth in December (2009), January and February was against a low base of the previous years, when the economy downturn was galloping,” Mr. Sharma said.

He said the government’s stimulus packages, besides policy intervention by his ministry, helped exporters counter the global demand slowdown.

Since December 2008, the Centre had announced a string of measures, such as interest subsidy for exporters, to tackle the financial crisis. In August 2009, more sops like market-linked incentives were announced in the Foreign Trade Policy.

Expanding for the fourth straight month, exports surged by 34.8 per cent to $16.09 billion in February, against USD 11.94 billion in the year-ago period.

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