Signalling the damage to trade from the global downturn could be easing, India's exports fell in September but the decline was smaller than in previous months. Merchandise exports fell by 13.8% in September from a year earlier to $13.6 billion after sliding by 19.4% in August, figures released by the Commerce Ministry showed.
India's exports started falling in October 2008 as the global financial crisis worsened. Unlike China, where overseas sales have been a main growth driver over the past three decades, exports account for just 15% of gross domestic product in India's still relatively inward-looking economy.
Economists say this, along with its vast domestic market of nearly 1.2 billion people, has helped shield India's economy from the impact of the global slump.
But the decline in exports has caused heavy job losses in labor-intensive sectors such as garments and jewelery.
Christmas sales in the U.S. and Europe are expected to gain momentum, creating more demand for goods from countries like India, economists say. "We expect a rapid improvement in the yearly export data over the next quarter, moving into positive territory by December," Goldman Sachs said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009