KARACHI: Textile exports rose 7.2 percent to $8.79 billion during the first eight months of the current fiscal year of 2018 as value-added sector continued to post recovery in foreign earnings, official data showed on Tuesday.
Textile exports, accounting for around 60 percent of the country’s total exports, amounted to $8.21 billion in the corresponding period of the last fiscal year, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data showed.
Exports have been on the downward trend for the last four years, but trade enhancement package worth Rs180 billion comprising rebates and tax concessions announced in January last year encouraged exporters to vie for additional shares in the international market.
In July-February, knitwear exports recorded the highest 13.3 percent growth in the value-added sector, fetching $1.76 billion in exports revenue. Export of readymade garments rose 13.1 percent to $1.69 billion in the period under review. Bedwear exports increased 4.5 percent to $1.48 billion. Export of cotton cloth, however, remained flat at $1.43 billion in the first eight months.
In February, textile exports rose 7.14 percent year on year (YoY), but they fell 1.81 percent month on month (MoM). Value-added textile sector could not keep up the uptrend during the month as compared to the previous month.
Exports of knitwear increased 13.43 percent YoY, but decreased 9.11 percent MoM. Bedwear export declined 3.27 percent YoY and 5.24 percent MoM. Exports of readymade garments increased 7.8 percent YoY, but decreased 8.7 percent MoM. Cotton cloth export improved 13 percent in February over the same month a year earlier, but it inched down 3.4 percent over January.
Industry officials blamed stuck sales and income taxes refunds for the downward trend in February numbers.
“Government has so far disbursed only 20 percent of the funds pledged as rebates under the Prime Minister [trade enhancement] package,” Jawed Bilwani, chairman Pakistan Apparel Forum, representing four value-added textile associations. “It is yet to release tax refunds despite issuance of refund payment orders (RPOs). The refunds should be made within seven days of RPOs according to a law.”
PBS data further showed that food exports climbed 21.7 percent to $2.84 billion in July-February over the corresponding period last fiscal year. The key exportable item in the food group is rice that earned the country $1.26 billion during the first eight months of FY2018, up 22.1 percent over the comparable period of FY2017.
Exports from manufacturing group, comprising sports goods, carpets, leather products, engineering goods and fertiliser rose 10.4 percent to $2.22 billion in the July-February period.
Total exports, during the eight months, jumped 11.6 percent to $14.85 billion, while imports soared 17.1 percent to $39.1 billion in the period under review. PBS data showed that alone oil import payment accounted for 23 percent of total import bills in July-February. Pakistan spent $9.014 billion on imports of petroleum products, crude and liquefied natural and petroleum gases, up a staggering 35 percent over the corresponding period a year earlier.
Though machinery imports were the second biggest head with $7.56 billion of import bills, they fell 3.2 percent in July-February over the same period a year ago.
Imports of fertiliser, insecticides, plastic materials, medicinal products and others under agricultural group increased 17.21 percent to $5.68 billion.
The country coughed up $4.22 billion on food imports in the period under review, up 6.32 percent over the same period earlier. Furthermore, metal group imports amounted to $3.46 billion, followed by transports ($2.91 billion) and textile group, consisting of raw cotton, synthetic fibre and worn clothing ($2.15 billion).
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