KARACHI: Pakistan’s exports may not suffer so badly, but moderately as textile manufacturers - the country’s single largest export industry - have reported receipt of new buying orders from different countries after the world slowly softened lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
“A significant development has taken place (in the textile export sector of Pakistan). We have received new export orders for those textile products which are mainly used in hospitals like white bed-sheets, white gowns and white t-shirts,” All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (Aptma) former vice-chairman Asif Inam confirmed to The Express Tribune.
Aptma chairman Gohar Ejaz has briefed on the developed the other day, he said.
“Interloop, the Faisalabad-based textile industry which manufacturer mainly hosiery products like socks for the global brand Adidas, has resumed production,” he replied.
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“Things are getting normal as Europe - a major buyer of Pakistan’s textile goods - is gradually softening lockdown,” he added.
Pakistan has received the world buying orders in the middle of the ongoing global health crisis as “we manufacture and export low-cost products in all categories of textiles like readymade garments, bed-sheets and hosiery instead exporting high-end branded products,” he said.
The orders are a mix of new ones and the ones which were put on hold and got temporarily suspended after the world imposed lockdown to contain the virus.
“Many world buyers, who had put the previously placed orders on hold, have now opted to take delivery from Pakistan,” he said.
The share of textiles in total exports stood at 60% ($10.41 billion) of the total exports at $17.45 billion in the first nine-months (Jul-March) of the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).
In the month of March alone, the exports, however, slipped 4.46% to $1.03 billion compared to $1.08 billion in the same month of the last year. Topline Research said it was previously expecting exports of goods to clock-in at around $26 billion in the current year FY20, which “we believe is likely to reach around $22.3 billion - resulting in a loss of $3.7 billion during Mar-Jun 2020.”
The receipt of the new export orders much earlier than the expectation may, however, help in booking lower export losses than the one initially estimated following the outbreak of the virus in the country.
Pakistan’s textile industries had received additional export orders and were running over the installed capacity following the outbreak of the virus in China - the second world largest economy - in end of December 2019.
However, the virus spread fast around the global and emerged in Pakistan in late March.
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“Some 30% textile industries, including value-added ones like readymade garments - have resumed production in Pakistan after the government allowed export industries to return to work under the strategy to crate balance while dealing with economic and health crises,” Inam said.
It is, however, very difficult to estimate the value of the new export orders and those for which the world buyers have started taking deliveries, he said.
He said Pakistan did not get impact so badly from the spread of the virus like Italy, Spain, the UK and the US did. “The situation may help Pakistan return to work earlier than the estimated timelines. It, however, remained uncertain when the crisis would completely get over around the globe,” he said.
Spain, Italy and other countries around the world are softening the lockdown. The situation would help to attract exports, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2020.
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