Textile exports drop 12 percent

By Our Correspondent
February 03, 2023
A Pakistan textile labourer fixes broken threads at a power loom in Karachi, the financial capital and the largest industrial city of Pakistan. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan textile and its products’ sales abroad have substantially declined for a fourth consecutive month in January, dropping 12.4 percent as compared to the same month last year, All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) reported on Thursday.

The textile exports dropped to $1.36 billion in January, 2023, as compared to $1.55 billion recorded in January, 2022.

Since October 2022, the textile exports have been at a nosedive. The exports declined 15 percent in Oct’22, then in Nov’22 by 18 percent, Dec’22 by 16 percent, and now in January,2023, the exports went down by 12.4 percent.

The double-digit decline in its exports is worrisome for the government and the economy, as the sector contributes around 60 percent to the country’s total export proceeds.

The exports in Dec’22 stood at $1.36 billion, as compared to $1.42 billion in Nov’2022, showing a decrease of 16 percent as compared to $1.62 billion in Dec’21.

Similarly, the seven-month (July to Jan 2022-23) cumulative exports of textiles were also down by 7.8 percent to $10.08 billion from 10.93 billion last year. This puts a growing pressure on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government, as after remittances that have already declined, exports are the major source to shore up the economy, especially the current account position.

It is to be noted that in the last fiscal year 2021-22, textiles sector exports increased over a quarter over the previous fiscal and achieved the highest-ever exports of $19.35 billion. With already draw-down reserves, which is barely enough to meet three-week essential imports, the decline in textile exports is a challenge.

The sector is also facing challenges including the shortage of cotton in the country, as it produced five million bales while the demand of the industry is around 14 million bales. To meet the demand of the industry, around 9 million bales of cotton are required, which also needs foreign exchange to import the input.

In December 2022, APTMA wrote a letter to the government that its monthly exports could go down below one billion dollars due to various issues that had compelled it to run the industry below half of its capacity.