Textile exports tumble 36.5pc in May

Updated 17 Jun 2020

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Compared to 64.5pc decline in April, when textile and clothing exports fell to $403.834m year-on-year, month-on-month proceeds in May fared better owing to a recovery in international orders. — Reuters/File
Compared to 64.5pc decline in April, when textile and clothing exports fell to $403.834m year-on-year, month-on-month proceeds in May fared better owing to a recovery in international orders. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s textile and clothing exports tumbled for the third consecutive month in May falling 36.5 per cent year-on-year to $751.128 million compared to $1.185 billion in the corresponding month of last year, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Tuesday.

Compared to 64.5pc decline in April, when textile and clothing exports fell to $403.834m year-on-year—the lowest level in almost 17 years, month-on-month proceeds in May fared better owing to a recovery in international orders.

The easing of lockdown in the North American and European countries—top export destinations for Pakistani textile goods will help revive the sinking exports. The Covid-19 has collapsed the demand for country’s exports during the last four months.

A significant decline was seen in trade shipments since Mar 15 — the date since coronavirus cases spiked in major export destinations especially in Europe and North America. However, exports on land routes were allowed in May to Iran and Afghanistan.

It was only in February when the textile and clothing exports jumped nearly 17pc on a year-on-year basis. This growth was reported after a long time as the past few years had been marred by single-digit increases.

Details showed ready-made garments exports dipped 46.28pc in value and drifted much lower in quantity by 68.16pc during May while those of knitwear dipped 33.93pc in value and 38.87pc in quantity, bed wear posted negative growth of 22.17pc in value and 29.28pc in quantity.

Towel exports fell 42.59pc in value and 50.96pc in quantity, whereas those of cotton cloth dipped by 41.42pc in value and 55.56pc in quantity.

However, exports are expected to revive in June as exporters have resumed production to honor international orders.

Last week, the government lifted the ban on exports of seven products classified as personal protective equipment (PPE) in a bid to allow manufacturers to honor international orders.

Exporters are already receiving inquiries about PPEs from foreign buyers as government allowed exports of disposable gowns, disposable gloves, face shields, biohazard bags, goggles, shoe covers and hand sanitisers with immediate effect. Previously, the government allowed exports of textile masks as well.

Among primary commodities, cotton yarn exports dipped by 51.29pc while yarn other than cotton by 52.28pc, made-up articles — excluding towels — by 41.05pc, and raw cotton 100pc. Exports of tents, canvas and tarpaulin increased by a massive 112.35pc during the month under review.

Between July-May FY20, textile and clothing exports declined 6.06pc to $11.567bn, from $12.313bn over the corresponding period last year. In rupee terms, the proceeds of the sector jumped 9.52pc.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2020