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Textile exports surge by 20 percent in February

The increase marked the third straight month of positive growth for the sector. 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. The decline has been appreciably reduced in last three months.

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. The upsurge is in line with the increase in demand by global buyers that saw exports from India and Bangladesh also registered a healthy increase.

Industry players who were protesting against high gas and power rates for several months now sounded concerned that gas tariffs had increased, which had serious implications for the industry overall and for the textile sector in particular.

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.

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