Textile exports see fourth straight monthly surge in March

textile exports for the first nine months of the fiscal year (July-March 2023/24)

By Israr Khan
April 19, 2024
A worker operates a machine preparing fabric at the Kohinoor Textile Mills in Lahore on July 20, 2023. — AFP

ISLAMABAD: The textile exports continued their consecutive surge for the fourth month in March 2024, albeit with a slight moderation compared to previous months.


Official data released Thursday revealed that textile exports rose by 3.3 percent to $1.3 billion in March 2024 compared to $1.258 billion in the same month of the previous year. This marks a steady increase in exports for the sector over the past few months. Its exports saw a year-on-year increase of 3.3 percent in December 2023, followed by a jump of 10.10 percent in January 2024, and a substantial increase of 20.2 percent in February. The latest uptick of 3.3 percent in March further solidifies this positive trend.

However, despite this monthly improvement, cumulative textile exports for the first nine months of the fiscal year (July-March 2023/24) experienced a slight decline of 0.25 percent, resulting in a decrease of $31.6 million. Total exports for the period amounted to $12.44 billion, slightly lower than the $12.476 billion recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) revealed that textile group sales were down by 7.67 percent compared with the previous month of February 2024, totaling $1.407 billion.However, during March, sales of major components of the textile group increased compared to the same month of last year. This includes bedwear, knitwear, towels, readymade garments, and cotton cloth.

Knitwear exports increased by 8.12 percent to $336.7 million, bedwear by 9.36 percent to $215.3 million, readymade garments by 3.9 percent to $287.3 million, and towels by 18.1 percent to $93 million. Similarly, cotton cloth exports increased by 3.2 percent to $163 million compared to March 2023 exports. But, over the previous month of February 2024, these segments’ exports declined.

In the food group, rice exports (including Basmati) increased by 69.7 percent to $413.4 million, driven by increased international demand and high prices due to India's rice export ban in recent months.Basmati rice exports during the month increased by 19.4 percent to $82.9 million, and other varieties’ exports increased by 89.7 percent to $330.4 million.

In the nine months from July to March, rice total exports increased by 83.4 percent to $2.931 billion against $1.598 billion last year, with basmati total exports up 36.4 percent to $622.3 million and other rice sales up 102 percent to $2.31 billion.

During March 2024, vegetable exports increased by 62.6 percent to $59.4 million, fruits by 92.4 percent to $19.2 million, and meat and meat preparations by 20.7 percent to $54.8 million. However, fish and fish preparation exports fell by 32.5 percent to $37 million, and tobacco was down by 83.2 percent to $0.92 million over the same month of last year.

Additionally, football exports in March increased by 9.1 percent to $24.3 million, plastic materials by 70 percent to $36.3 million, and engineering goods by 13.9 percent to $32.3 million, while footwear exports fell by 4.5 percent to $13.4 million.

Pharmaceutical products’ exports were up by 52.5 percent to $38.1 million and surgical goods exports by 6.57 percent to $40.2 million. However, cement exports fell 12.3 percent to $15.57 million, and leather manufacturing exports were down by 5.76 percent to $38.4 million over exports in March 2023.


According to the PBS, the total imports in the petroleum group increased by 25 percent to $1.51 billion in March 2024 compared to the same month of the previous year.

In this category, imports of petroleum products increased by 2.7 percent to $497 million, crude oil by 68.5 percent to $635.2 million and LPG imports rose by 83.7 percent to $80.7 million. However, LNG imports declined by 2.8 percent to $292.95 million compared to March 2023.

From July to March of FY24, total imports in the petroleum group decreased by 7.6 percent to $12.1 billion compared to $13.1 billion in the same period of FY23. Notably, imports of petroleum products were reduced by 21 percent to $4.61 billion, while crude oil imports increased by 3.26 percent to $3.986 billion, LNG by 2.0 percent to $2.91 billion, and LPG imports also saw a rise of 8.6 percent to $579 million.

In March 2024, machinery imports surged by 139.6 percent to $812 million. Within this category, imports of telecom machinery and other apparatus witnessed a substantial increase of 422.6 percent to $189 million, largely due to a surge in mobile set imports.

Notably, Pakistani imports of mobile sets amounted to$153 million in March 2024, marking a 931 percent increase from March of the previous year, where imports totaled $14.86 million. In July-March of FY24, the import of mobile sets accounted for $1.3 billion, reflecting a significant increase of 181 percent compared to the previous year's imports of $462.7 million.

Moreover, in the machinery group, agriculture machinery imports increased by 150 percent to $8.1 million, and electrical machinery and apparatus by 274 percent to $420.3 million. Similarly, imports of construction and mining machinery up by 38.7 percent to $5.8 million, and power generation machinery imports increased by 18.9 percent to $28.3 million compared to the same month of last year. However, textile machinery imports were down by 49 percent to $9.47 million.

In the transport sector, total imports in March 2024 also increased by 39.56 percent to $130 million compared to $93 million in March 2023. However, imports of completely built units (CBU) of buses, trucks, and other heavy vehicles saw an increase of 98.6 percent to $21.5 million. Imports of motor car units increased significantly by 472 percent to $20 million compared to the same month last year.

Imports of completely knocked down (CKD)/semi-knocked down (SKD) models of cars, motorcycles, buses, trucks, and other heavy vehicles increased by 31.3 percent to $80 million in March 2024. Within this category, motorcars (mostly used cars) imports increased by 39.2 percent to $59.7 million, and motorcycle imports increased by 119.5 percent to $2.94 million. Parts and accessories imports were also increased by 76 percent to $23.7 million.