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Exports decline 31% in March
April, 14th 2009

India's exports fell for a sixth straight month according to the latest provisional estimate for March, and are likely to extend the fall till September before recovering, commerce secretary G K Pillai said on Monday.

Recession in developed economies crippled demand for Indian goods and export growth slowed to 7.3% in April-February to $156.6 billion from a year earlier, sharply lower from close to 20% seen in 2007/08.

"March exports, we have only the provisional estimates ... It is just under $12 billion ," G.K. Pillai told reporters, adding it would be about 31% lower from the previous year. "This negative growth will continue up till September... Then, you will find a positive growth."

The demand for Indian goods in Latin America and South-east Asia remains "quite high" , but it needs to pick up in US and Europe, which consume about 35% of Indian exports , he said. The final figures for 2008-09 exports is seen touching a lower revised annual target of $170 billion and may remain flat at that level in 2009-10 , he said.

While exports, which make about a fifth of India's gross domestic product, have been contracting since October, imports started falling from January as slowing demand at home cut import of capital goods and lower global crude prices slashed the fuel bill.

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