ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s textile exports declined for the third month in a row in December, falling 16.47 percent to $1.356 billion from $1.62 billion in the same month last year. Coupled with the decline in money terms, its volumetric sales abroad were also reduced, sending a warning signal to policymakers. Textile is Pakistan’s top foreign exchange earner and occupies over a three-fifth share in the country’s total exports.
This is the third month that textile exports declined sharply due to the government’s policies, including limiting imports by not opening credit letters, costly energy, expensive bank financing, shortage of dollars in the economy, and rupee devaluation.
In October 2022, textile exports declined 15.23 percent, in November 18.15 percent, and now in December, the sector’s exports declined by 16.47 percent over the respective corresponding months of last year.
Exports of all categories of the textile group including cotton cloth, cotton yarn, knitwear, bedwear, and towels shrunk sizably, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data showed. The textile group’s total exports declined by 4.56 percent over November exports of $1.42 billion.
In December 2022, cotton cloth exports dipped by 14 percent to $162.6 million compared to $189.1 million in December 2021, while over the previous month’s exports of $153.6 million, they increased by 5.93 percent.
Likewise, over the corresponding month of last year, exports of knitwear in December 2022 declined by 19.5 percent to $353.7 million, bedwear slashed by 17.8 percent to $208.4 million, towels 14 percent to $82.2 million, readymade garments 7.9 percent to $319.1 million, and cotton yarn sales were down 50 percent to $53.5 million.
Over the previous month, knitwear exports declined by 11.63 percent, bedwear by 6.3 percent, towels by 11.3 percent, and readymade garments by 7.9 percent, while cotton yarn exports increased by 24.4 over November 2022.
In the first half (from July to December 2022-23), the textile sector’s total exports were down by 7.1 percent to $8.72 billion over the same period of last year’s exports of $9.38 billion. At this pace, the sector would not be able to even reach last year’s total exports.
In FY22, total textile exports were at a historic high of $19.35 billion, with an increase of over a quarter over FY21’s exports of $15.4 billion.
Food groups’ exports in December 2022 dipped by 25.3 percent to $398.5 million against $533.6 million recorded in December 2021 and declined by 8.25 percent over November exports of $234.3 million. Of this group, rice exports were $203.15 million in December 2022 against $203 million in the previous month and $240.3 million in December 2021. Over the previous month, rice exports reduced by 12 percent while compared to the same month of last year’s exports, it declined by 25.7 percent.
In December 2022, petroleum group imports decreased by 12 percent to $1.585 billion against $1.8 billion in December 2021. Its imports declined by 3.7 percent over the previous month’s imports of $1.65 billion.
Compared to December 2021, imports of petroleum products in December 2022 declined 27.8 percent to $650 million, with LNG imports down 24 percent to $365 million. However, crude imports went up 42 percent to $502.9 million, and LPG increased 1.7 percent to $67.7 million.
Over the previous month, the petroleum products imported during the month under review were down by 8.2 percent, with crude down 7.9 percent, and LPG 8.4 percent, while LNG imports increased by 14.7 percent over the previous month.
The petroleum group’s overall imports in July-December 2022-23 were reduced by 8.8 percent to $9.285 billion over the same period of last year’s imports of $10.18 billion. During these six months, petroleum products’ imports declined by 16.9 percent to $4.2 billion and LNG by 18.7 percent to $1.95 billion, while crude oil imports increased by 15.2 percent to $2.78 billion and LPG imports went up by 13.1 percent to $357.3 million.
In the metal group (including gold, iron, and others), total imports were slashed by 40.3 percent to $376.4 million against $630.7 million in the corresponding month of last year. December’s imports over November 2022 however increased by 3.4 percent.
Of this, over the corresponding month of last year, gold imports in December 2022 increased by 179.5 percent to $3.26 million, while iron and steel (scrap) imports were down by 60 percent to $100.8 million, and iron and steel reduced by 37 percent to $176.4 million.
In December 2022, the economy imported 57.8 percent less machinery and it stood at $476 million against $1.13 billion in December 2021.
Over the corresponding month of last year, textiles machinery imports declined 60.6 percent to $29.2 million, power generation machinery 67.6 percent to $44.7 million, telecom sector machinery 62.4 percent to $110.2 million, electrical machinery 62.6 percent to $80.96 million, and construction and mining machinery imports declined 62.8 percent to $10.1 million.
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