New Delhi: India’s exports in September declined the least this year as economic recovery in the US and Europe boosted demand for the South Asian nation’s products.

Providing a fillip: US trade representative Ron Kirk (left) and commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma held talks in New Delhi last week aimed at boosting trade between the two countries. Ramesh Pathania / Mint

Merchandise shipments dropped 13.8% in September from a year earlier to $13.6 billion (Rs63,920 crore today) after sliding 19.4% in August, the commerce ministry said in a statement here on Tuesday. Exports had plunged 33.26% in March, the biggest slide since at least April 1995, when Bloomberg data began.

The US economy returned to growth in the third quarter after a year-long contraction, and France, Germany and Japan exited their recessions in the previous three months. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee last week said India’s growth won’t return to the 9% average pace of recent years until the economies in the US and Europe recover fully.

“The fortunes of Indian exporters are linked to recovery in the developed countries," said D.H. Pai Panandiker, president of RPG Foundation, an economic policy group in New Delhi. “Things are improving fast for exports and we should see orders rising at a faster pace in the coming months."

The global export slump is easing as the world begins to recover from its worst recession since the 1930s, reviving demand for made-in-India Maruti Suzuki India Ltd cars and other goods. The US economy, India’s second biggest export market, expanded 3.5% in the July-September quarter.

Maruti Suzuki, maker of half the cars sold in India, said on 2 November that overseas sales in October more than doubled to 13,864 units from the same month a year earlier.

India is boosting its efforts to increase overseas sales by developing trade agreements with other countries. Last week, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma and US trade representative Ron Kirk held talks in New Delhi aimed at boosting trade between the two countries.

The two nations aim to increase two-way trade in sectors such as infrastructure, healthcare services, education, communications technology and energy, Kirk had said on 26 October.

Sharma has urged Indian exporters to explore new markets in Africa and Latin America to offset shrinking demand in the US and Europe, which account for 40% of the nation’s exports.

Imports fell 31.3% to $21.4 billion in September after declining 32.4% in August, Tuesday’s report showed.

The trade deficit narrowed to $7.8 billion, from $8.4 billion in the previous month.