Pakistan News

Textile exports plunge to 17-year low

Textile exports plunge to 17-year low

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s textile and clothing exports declined by 64.5 per cent in April to $403.834 million year-on-year — the lowest level in almost 17 years — due to order cancellations and shipment delays amid pandemic-led global lockdowns, showed data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Wednesday.

A significant decline was seen in trade shipments since Mar 15 — the date since coronavirus cases spiked in major export destinations especially in Europe and North America.

Moreover, exports through the land routes were almost non-existent during the month as Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan shut down their respective borders to contain the pandemic.

Exports were expected to fall during the month of April as only a few buyers were honouring their import commitments with local manufacturers.

It was only in February when the textile and clothing exports jumped nearly 17pc on a year-on-year basis. This growth was reported after a long time as the past few years had been marred by single-digit increases.

Proceeds totalled $403.8m in April

Details showed exports of ready-made garments di­p­ped by 73.44pc in value and drifted much lower in quantity by 78.94pc during April while those of knitwear dipped 61.75pc in value and 48.31pc in quantity, bed wear posted negative growth of 57.54pc in value and 57.37pc in quantity.

Towel exports fell 74.07pc in value and 72.78pc in quantity, whereas those of cotton cloth dipped by 69.73pc in value and 78.06pc in quantity.

Exporters are resuming production and seeking permission from provincial and federal governments to allow workers to reach factories. With these developments, exports are likely to revive partially in May.

Among primary commodities, cotton yarn exports dipped by 63.29pc while yarn other than cotton by 70.19pc, made-up articles — excluding towels — by 63.56pc, and raw cotton 100pc. Exports of tents, canvas and tarpaulin increased by a massive 32.39pc during the month under review.

Between July-April FY20, textile and clothing exports declined 2.79pc to $10.816 billion, from $11.127bn over the corresponding period last year. In rupee terms, the proceeds of the sector jumped 14.17pc.

Non-Textile sector: Exports of non-textile products shrank more than 41pc year-on-year to $553.443m in April. In the pre-Covid-19 period, an upward trend was seen in the exports of non-textile products, largely driven by rupee depreciation.

The data released by the PBS showed the food basket contracted 26pc in April from a year ago. Under this category, however, exports of rice witnessed an increase of 3.18pc, thanks to an increase in basmati exports which jumped 21.35pc in value and 33pc in quantity.

Export of fish and fish products declined by 49.27pc while that of vegetables dipped by 51.80pc and fruits 19.62pc, respectively. No exports were recorded of wheat, sugar, and pulses following the imposition of a ban from the country in the month of April. The export of tobacco, spices, and meat products during the month under review declined by 36.06pc, 9.72pc and 11.29pc respectively.

The leather exports also dipped by 70.53pc, driven mainly by declines in sales of leather garments, gloves, followed by other products.

Contrary to these, exports of carpets and rugs decreased in value by 92.72pc and in quantity by 92.04pc during April from a year ago.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2020

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