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Wednesday April 24, 2024

Textile exports up12.95 percent in March

By Javed Mirza
April 24, 2018

KARACHI: Textile and clothing exports grew 12.95 percent year on year to $1.202 billion in March, as exporters cheered tax incentives announced last year by the government to boost trade, analysts said on Monday.

Ahsan Mehanti, chief executive at Arif Habib Commodities said exports are increasing on Prime Minister trade enhancement incentives comprising subsidies and rebates. “Government is making efforts to arrest trade deficit.

The policies pertaining to export-oriented sector seem consistent, which would bode well for the exports going forward,” Mehanti added. In January 2017, government unveiled a number of tax concessions and rebates for mainly textile sector, which accounts for more than 60 percent of total exports, to arrest decline in exports. It was expected to push exports by $2.5 billion during the current fiscal year.

In March 2017, textile exports amounted to $1.064 billion, according to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics’ (PBS) latest data. Textile exports were recorded at $1.066 billion in February.

Textile and clothing exports rose eight percent to $9.99 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year of 2017/18. Mehanti said interest rates remained lower during the period and financing to export- oriented sector considerably increased, while rupee devaluation supported recovery in exports. Rupee lost around 10 percent of value against the US dollar since December last year.

Jawed Bilwani, president of Pakistan Hosiery Manufacturers and Exporters Association acknowledged that exports increased due to textile package. “The growth is unsustainable. Cost of doing business in Pakistan is highest in the region while efficiency levels of the labour are going down at a rapid pace, and so exports would start declining soon.”

Bilwani, who is also president of SITE Association of Industry, said the trade incentives package was not properly implemented. “Pakistan’s exports are import-based as 70 percent of inputs are imported, which is why devaluation of local currency did not give us any benefit instead it hurt us,” he added.

Bilwani further said Pakistan is only getting already-booked orders and that too would stop coming once the competitors increase their capacity. The government should come with a concrete and sustainable policy to facilitate exporters, he said.

PBS data showed that highest surge, in terms of percentage, was witnessed in cotton yarn exports, which increased 31.22 percent to $127.86 million in March; monthly knitwear exports were up 29.3 percent to clock in at $230.109 million while bed wear exports surged 24.8 percent to $196.33 million in March.

Country’s readymade garments exports jumped 8.76 percent to $223.104 million, while cotton cloth fetched $205.02 million in March, up 8.6 percent from $188.67 million in March 2017. Meanwhile, PBS data showed that total exports increased 13.1 percent to $17.1 billion in the July-March period.

The second biggest exports group, during the period, was food with $3.43 billion, up 28.1 percent over the corresponding period a year earlier. Rice exports earned the country $1.5 billion.

Exports from manufacturing sector, comprising sports goods, leather and others, rose 10.42 percent to $2.52 billion in the first nine months of the current fiscal year 2018. PBS data further showed that imports rose 16 percent to $44.34 billion in the July-March period.

The major import bills included oil (up 32pc to $10.22 billion), machinery (down 4pc to $8.5 billion), agri inputs and chemicals (rising 17pc to $6.5 billion), foods (increasing 5pc to $4.73 billion), metal (climbing 27pc to $3.99 billion), transport (jumping 42pc to $3.24 billion) and textile (rising 7pc to $2.5 billion).