ISLAMABAD: The country’s textile and clothing exports suffered a slowdown last month, reversing the trend of double-digit growth observed over the previous three consecutive months and indicating a decline in orders from international buyers.

The sector’s exports showed a paltry growth of 3.29 per cent to $1.299 billion in March over $1.257bn recorded in the same month last year, according to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Thursday.

On a month-on-month basis, the sector’s exports dipped 7.67pc.

In 9MFY24, however, textile and clothing exports shra­nk 0.25pc to $12.444bn from $12.476bn in the same period last year.

The decline in growth was attributed to rising production costs due to higher energy prices and a liquidity crunch. The textile industry has already warned the government that further decline is likely in case their grievances, including pending refunds, are not processed quickly.

The PBS data showed exports of readymade garments rose 3.92pc by value in March and 19.39pc by quantity, while knitwear grew 8.12pc by value and 19.58pc by quantity. Bed wear posted a growth of 9.36pc and 18.15pc, respectively.

Towel exports surged by 18.10pc by value and 22.39pc by quantity, whereas those of cotton cloth went up by 3.18pc and 29.63pc, respectively.

Yarn exports fell by over 36.09pc in March over the same month last year. The exports of made-up articles, excluding towels, increased by 17.49pc, and tents, canvas and tarpaulin went down by 36.09pc in March.

The import of textile machinery declined by 49pc in March, a sign that expansion or modernisation projects were not a priority.

The import of synthetic fibre increased by 49.41pc, that of synthetic and artificial silk yarn by 36.07pc and other textile items by 98.06pc during the month.

The import of raw cotton declined by 79.56pc. However, the import of second-hand clothes posted a growth of 29.49pc.

In the first nine months of FY24, total exports increased by 9.01pc to $22.93bn over the same period last year.

Oil imports

Oil imports dipped by 7.63pc during the first nine months of FY24 to $12.08bn from $13.08bn a year ago, the PBS data showed.

According to PBS, import of petroleum products fell by 21.02pc in value during July-March and 13.38pc in quantity. Imports of crude oil increased by 11.65pc in quantity while the value increased by 3.26pc.

Import of mobile phones

Mobile phone imports surged by 181.26pc to $1.301bn in 9MFY24 from $462.70m over the same period last year. This represents the single largest share of overall machinery import value in the first nine months of FY24.

Other mobile apparatus saw a growth of 14.05pc to $321.93m in 9MFY24 from $282.271m last year.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2024

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