Textile sector exports increase 0.4% in December 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan’s textile exports remained stagnant in December 2019, crawling up by only 0.4% to $1.142 billion from $1.138 billion in the same period last year.

Looking at specific sub-categories of textile exports, growth was mainly seen in garments (+7.6% YoY), whereas knitwear (+2.4% YoY) also inched up during the month. Smaller categories such as art, silk & synthetic and other textiles helped push overall textiles into positive territory.

Other major sub-categories witnessed a contraction in December, particularly cotton yarn (-23.2% YoY) and bed-wear (-4.5% YoY).

In terms of quantities exported too, there was generally a decline, or sluggish growth at best, in major categories (barring garments, +12.2% YoY), none more so than cotton yarn (-19.9% YoY) and cotton cloth (-21.0% YoY). One reason for the decline in cotton yarn exports is lower demand in China during the month.

“Going forward, textile exports are expected to improve, whereas cotton yarn exports could also resume a rising trend, which is contingent upon how successful the China-Pak FTA-II proves to be for textile exports (only time will tell),” Ahmed Lakhani at JS Global Capital said.

On the other hand, disturbances such as transporters’ strikes might cause a minor hiccup in export numbers as they have done in the past. However, the focus should remain squarely on a longer term view, which appears to be positive for now.

The recent decision to remove duties on cotton imports could provide some stimulus to the value-added industry amid local crop shortfall. Cotton imports (as per SBP data) have quadrupled in Dec-2019 compared to the previous six months’ average monthly cotton imports.

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