Textile exports plummet by 14% to $13.7 billion

Attributable to global recession, challenging domestic environment

Usman Hanif May 23, 2023


Pakistan’s textile exports have experienced a significant decline of approximately 14% during the 10-month period of fiscal year 2023, dropping to $13.7 billion, according to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). This marks a substantial decrease from the previous year’s figure of $15.9 billion.

Experts attribute this slowdown to the global recession, resulting in lower export orders, combined with a challenging domestic environment. Insight Research, textile analyst, Asim Hassan states, “The slowdown is mainly attributable to the global recession resulting in lower export orders coupled with challenging domestic environment.”

In April 2023, textile exports witnessed a year-on-year decrease of 29%, amounting to $1.23 billion. Arif Habib Limited (AHL), Head of Research, Tahir Abbas notes that this marks the seventh consecutive year-on-year decline in monthly textile exports.

Topline Securities, textile analyst, Nasheed Malik explains that compared to April 2022, Pakistan’s textile exports were down by 29% year-on-year and 9% year-on-year in Pakistan rupee terms.

This decline is primarily attributed to a 29% and 32% drop in the value-added and basic segments, respectively. In the value-added segment, bedwear, knitwear, readymade garments, and towels witnessed declines of 22%, 34%, 29%, and 26% respectively.

In a month-on-month comparison, Pakistan’s textile exports for April 2023 stood at $1.23 billion, experiencing only a 2% decrease. Similarly, in Pakistan rupee terms, exports remained flat month-on-month, amounting to Rs351 billion, said Malik.

The value-added textile exports reached $867 million, maintaining stability month-on-month. Bedwear increased by 11% and knitwear by 3% compared to the previous month.

However, readymade garments witnessed a 10% decline, balancing out the overall export performance. Basic textiles decreased by 7% month-on-month, with cotton cloth and cotton yarn experiencing almost the same decline.

In terms of volume, bedwear and knitwear witnessed a positive trend, increasing by 9% and 3% respectively month-on-month. On the other hand, towels decreased by 3%, and readymade garments remained flat compared to the previous month.

Malik highlights that textile manufacturers in Pakistan have observed improved orders from Europe and the United States for the value-added segment, as indicated by the resilience in volumes. However, among basic textiles, cotton yarn decreased by 8%, and cotton cloth declined by 6% month-on-month.

Insight Researches’ analyst acknowledges that textile exports have remained sluggish due to various challenges in the domestic environment and weakening global demand. He expects textile exports to increase in volumetric terms as the inventory pileup gradually declines and demand resurges in export destinations.

However, the decline in product prices is likely to offset the impact. Additionally, headwinds in the domestic economy, such as unavailability of locally produced cotton, delays in clearance of imported cotton and other essential inputs, elevated gas and electricity tariffs, and increased finance costs, will continue to hinder textile players.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 23rd, 2023.

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