Textile exports hit $1.41 billion in February, up 20pc year-on-year

Our Correspondent
Tuesday, Mar 05, 2024

KARACHI/islamabad: The textile exports rose by nearly a fifth in February from a year earlier, as improved gas supply and strong demand boosted production, industry data showed on Monday.

Exports of textile products reached $1.41 billion in February, up 19.7 percent from $1.18 billion in the same month last year, according to the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA).

The increase marked the third straight month of positive growth for the sector, which accounts for more than half of the country’s total exports and is a key source of foreign exchange. However, textile exports in the first eight months of the fiscal year 2023-2024, which began in July, were still down 1 percent year-on-year at $11.15 billion.

Year on year, textiles exports in December 2023 increased 3.3 percent, in January 2024, they were up by 10.10 percent and in February they were up by 20 percent. Comparing the latest figures to the previous month, February 2024 saw a marginal decrease in exports. In January, exports stood at $1.46 billion, representing a decline of over 3 percent on a month-to-month basis.

APTMA attributed the growth in the textile goods to increased production of the textile goods during the month. “The gas supply improved to the textile units in the month of February, which boosted the productivity of the sector as well as its exports,” Asif Inam, chairman APTMA, told The News.

Inam said that the growth trend in the export of textile goods was set in the last three months and this momentum didn’t break even in February when the situation further improved in terms of gas supply to the sector, which resulted in increased productivity during the month. However, he sounded concerned about the high production cost, which might have an adverse impact on the growth trend. He pointed out that gas tariffs had increased, which had serious implications for the industry overall and for the textile sector in particular.

With the country grappling with a shortage of foreign exchange, textile exports play a pivotal role in bridging this gap. They constitute a substantial portion of the nation's exports, contributing significantly to its foreign exchange reserves. The reliance on textile exports to bolster reserves is crucial for Pakistan, which often resorts to borrowing to address its foreign exchange needs.

The textile manufacturers did not issue detailed figures for the exports of their products in February. Notably, in the previous month (January 2024), sales of most major components of the textile group increased. This includes bedwear, knitwear, towels, readymade garments, cotton cloth, and yarn.

During January 2024, exports of knitwear increased by 8.4 percent to $365 million, bedwear by 19.3 percent to $252 million, readymade garments by 13.85 percent to $333.4 million, and towels by 5.4 percent to $96.1 million. Likewise, cotton yarn exports increased 19.8 percent to $81.3 million and cotton cloth by 0.5 percent to $159.7 million compared to January 2023 exports.

February's promising growth signals optimism for Pakistan's economy, suggesting potential for further expansion despite challenges in maintaining steady growth amidst fluctuating global demand. Efforts to bolster the textile sector are crucial for Pakistan's economic stability and growth, requiring attention to structural issues, technology investment, and business environment improvement.