India's exports in March fell below $12 billion, showing negative growth for the sixth month in a row, as demand for merchandise slumped in the world's major economies, which are battling recession.
The country's imports too continued to move southwards in the last month of 2008-09, dipping by 37 per cent.
"In March we have the provisional (exports) figures. It is under $12 billion," Commerce Secretary G K Pillai said, adding "so we are seeing the same trend of decline."
Exports in March 2008 were valued at $16.28 billion. He said the growth rate of exports at about 35 per cent in the first half 2008-09 would not be maintained in 2009-10.
"This year obviously we will not grow that much," he said on the sidelines of an IIFT meet in New Delhi.
Pillai, however, said India's total exports for fiscal 2008-09 are likely to be about $170 billion, higher than 2007-08 overseas shipments. The country's exports in 2007-08 were valued at $162 billion.
He added that imports declined by 37 per cent in March. "Decline (in imports) is more than exports...it is about 37 per cent," he said. India's import bill in March 2008 was $23.17 billion, about 35 per cent more than in March 2007.