Similarly, imports too contracted by 35 per cent to $16 billion in April 2009, as against $16.07 billion in the year-ago period.
Continued economic recession in key export markets like US and Europe, which account for over 40 per cent of India's exports, and high base effect are cited as reasons for this sharp dip.
With imports declining at a faster rate than exports, the trade deficit the difference between the two narrowed to $5.3 billion in April 2009 as compared to $8.75 billion in the corresponding month a year ago.
Analysts expect the current situation to continue in the first half of the current fiscal, and expect recovery only after September 2009, when stimulus packages announced by various governments would begin to show results.
With exports in the negative territory in the second half of last fiscal (2008-09), overseas sale of Indian goods expanded by only 3.4 per cent to reach $168 billion in 2008-09 the slowest pace since 2002-03.
Initially, the commerce ministry had set an export target of $200 billion for 2008-09, which was subsequently revised downwards to $175 billion in January this year. But the latest numbers reveal that India has missed even the revised target.