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ISLAMABAD: Exports of textile and clothing dropped by more than seven per cent to $12.46 billion in the outgoing fiscal year (2015-16) from $13.45bn a year ago, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said on Friday.

These exports stood at $987.16 million in June, a fall of 8pc compared to $1.08bn in the same month of the last year.

The textile group, which has 60pc share in Pakistan’s overall exports, has been witnessing a decline in the last couple of years. The readymade garments sector was the only bright spot as its exports grew 5pc year-on-year to $2.196bn in 2015-16. Besides, garment exports witnessed a growth of 3.8pc in terms of quantity.

Readymade garments posted a growth of over 4pc in June, too, while the entire textile chain witnessed a negative growth.

This growth was achieved because of government support to the value-added textile sector. This clearly reflects government’s intention to remove imbalance in the export sector to create jobs for the youth. Another reason behind the rise in exports of value-added textile products was preferential access to the 28-nation European Union under GSP+ scheme.

However, the textile package announced last year did not help to boost exports of other textile sectors.

Exports of intermediate commodity like cotton yarn fell by around 32pc in value and 30.3pc in quantity. One reason behind the drop was sluggish Chinese demand for yarn and fabric.

Cotton cloth exports fell 9.7pc in value, however, in quantity a positive growth of 1.5pc was recorded during July-June 2015-16 as compared to the same period a year ago.

Exports of raw cotton dropped 48pc in value and 47pc in quantity during 2015-16. Knitwear exports were down 1.5pc in value but posted a growth of 15pc in quantity during the fiscal year.

During the previous fiscal year, exports of bedwear declined by 4pc in value, but a slight growth of 0.62pc was observed in quantity. Shrinking global demand has affected the exports of textile items.

Towels exports fell by 0.41pc year-on-year in value, but posted a growth of 3.4pc in quantity during 2015-16.

Product-wise details showed that exports of low value-added products, such as cotton carded, fell by 97.5pc in value, yarn other than cotton yarn 23pc, and made-up articles (excluding towels and bedwear) 3.5pc during the year under review. Exports of all these products edged lower in terms of quantity as well.

Pakistan’s overall exports were $20.8bn in the outgoing fiscal year, down 12pc compared to $23.67bn in the preceding year.

OIL AND FOODSTUFFS: Imports of oil and eatables fell 22.7pc in 2015-16 to nearly $13bn from $16.82bn a year ago.

Pakistan’s total import bill stood at $44.77bn during the period under review as against $45.83bn in 2014-15, showing a decline of 2.3pc.

The import bill of food products rose 7.2pc to $5.39bn in 2015-16 previous year’s $5.03bn, driven by imports of soya bean oil, pulses, tea and spices.

Statistics showed that the oil import bill fell to $7.61bn in 2015-16 as against $11.79bn over the preceding fiscal year, indicating a decline of 35.5pc.

Crude oil imports plunged 45pc while that of petroleum products by 30pc during the year under review.

Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2016