The Central Government is confident that the negative phase in exports will bottom out by December and take an uptrend by the end of the last quarter of this fiscal in view of the diversification of the exports basket to new markets in the last few months.

“Our textile exports to Australia and New Zealand have acted as cushion to check the sharp decline in exports. These two countries are new and diversified markets and were part of the 39 new thrust markets identified in the new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP). The African markets are also responding well to the Indian products and with things looking up in Europe and the United States, we are hopeful of going into the positive zone in the next few months,” Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said. According to official figures, exports declined by 13.8 per cent in September for the 12 month in a row, but the pace of contraction stood arrested. Exports stood at $13.6 billion in September against $15.8 billion in the same month last year. Exports contracted by 28.5 per cent to $77.9 billion in the first six months of the current fiscal from $108.9 billion in the same period last year. The pace of decline in exports has, however, slowed since May when it tanked 39.2 per cent and in the subsequent month it contracted by 31.9 per cent. Overseas shipments fell by 28.4 per cent and 19.5 per cent in July and August, respectively.

Mr. Sharma said there was a time when exports were falling every month at the rate of 33 or 34 per cent. “We thought it would not be prudent or wait for major economies to turn around and consciously looked at measures that would stimulate growth in industry. It has already started paying dividends with countries in Latin America, Africa, Pacific and the Far East responding well. So for us to sustain our economic engagement, exports in to newer areas was an imperative,” he added.

Meanwhile, marine exports declined by about four per cent to $148.54 million in August over the same period last year. In August 2008 exports stood $154.70 million, according to the Marine Products Export Development Authority.

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