India’s exports dropped by 13.8 per cent in September, but the decline was the lowest this fiscal, giving hope of a rebound of a year-old negative trend from the third-fourth quarter of the current fiscal.

Exports during the month were $13.6 billion compared to $15.8 billion a year ago. “It is difficult to predict a precise timeline for exports to transit to a positive phase.

But it is expected that it (trend reversal) will be towards the end of 3rd or beginning of the 4th quarter of the current year,” Commerce Secretary Rahul Khular told reporters here.

Under the impact of the global slump in demand, exports started contracting since October 2008, with May 2009 seeing the sharpest decline of 39.2 per cent.

However, since June the declining trend got arrested showing “there is a huge revival everywhere” with the return of the global confidence, though at a slower pace.

While the shipments contracted by 28.5 per cent during April-September 2009-10, the Commerce Ministry is hopeful that the current fiscal may end with a smaller decline of 3 to 6 per cent as sectors like gems and jewellery, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, iron ore, marine products, and man-made yarns showed recovery.

Exporters shared the optimism: “We are in agreement with the government. Our assessment that the situation would improve around January 2010 is reflected from this data,” A. Sakthivel, President of Federation of Indian Export Organisatons (FIEO) said