The year 2009 turned out to be a major disappointment for exporters as sharp contraction in demand for Indian goods in the global market due to recession led to not only downhill journey for Indian exports but also resulted in massive job losses in various sectors.

However, a sliver lining appeared at the end of the year with a positive turnaround in November as rising global demand and exploration of new markets by the exporters started paying dividends. Hopes have brightened that exports would once again attain the upward journey in the last quarter of 2009-10 backed by sound economic growth and revival of demand in various global markets.

As exporters bled all through the year with their woes peaking in May when shipping consignments dropped 40 per cent, the most in 13 years. But November saw an 18.3 per cent growth in exports with Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma expressing hope that things would look positive now onwards.

The positive growth in exports is also a vindication of the new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) unleashed by Mr. Sharma where 39 new markets were identified for diversification of exports from the traditional markets of the U.S. and Europe. In April-November, exports dropped to $104.25 billion from $134.2 billion in the same period a year-ago. Engineering goods, textiles and textiles products, gems and jewellery and petroleum products fill the major portion of the country’s export basket. Mr. Sharma is confident that with new markets generating good demand and traditional markets also coming out of their recessionary trend, for 2010-11, exports growth could be around 15 per cent. The dollar maintaining a strong under-current for better part of the year was a consolation for the exporters who were able to get better realisations in the domestic currency. The dollar had crossed the 50-mark against the rupee in March before returning to Rs. 46.50 mid-December. It is expected that a series of sops for certain sectors which continue to languish will be announced in the first week of January by the Commerce Ministry.

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