New Delhi: The fall in India's merchandise exports over a year and a half has at last been arrested as the May data shows, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday. "The fall in exports has now been arrested. Last month's data indicates a fall of 0.7 per cent," Sitharaman told reporters here. "The bottoming out (of the fall) has happened. From now, it will be a slow recovery and a steady pick-up," she said. India's merchandise exports declined for the 18th consecutive month in May at $22.17 billion, down 0.79 per cent in dollar terms, against $22.35 billion in the like month of last year, official data showed on Wednesday. The country's merchandise exports in April this year were valued at $20.57 billion -- down 6.74 per cent in dollar terms against $22.05 billion in April 2015. "Many labour intensive sectors have been holding out and are now picking up," Sitharaman said. "The process of export recovery requires to be aided, through interest subvention and other incentives," the minister added.