LAHORE, Pakistan — Pakistan’s textile and apparel sector has continued a run of strong sales, according to government reports, with knitwear, ready-to-wear, silk and synthetic fabrics showing key gains.
Despite a 4 million bale shortfall the country faced at the beginning of the season due to the loss of cotton crops from last summer’s flooding, importers stuck by mills and even increased their orders. According to the Federal Bureau of Statistics, textile exports increased 51 percent to $1.2 billion for the year through February. Knitwear was up 8 percent to 9.5 million dozen, ready-to-wear gained 10 percent to 2.8 million dozen, and silk and synthetic textiles doubled to 48.3 million square meter equivalents.
“China is moving out of the textile trade, which best suits countries with lower than $1,000 per capita income, and, in five years, will become a market for Pakistani finished textile products,” said Gohar Ejaz, chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association and also of Ejaz Textiles, Lahore. “Presently, we export yarn and fabric to China.”
Pakistan’s cotton yarn exports increased 45 percent year on year in the July-to-February period and cotton cloth gained 33 percent.
Najeeb Malik, managing director of Master Textiles, a vertically integrated apparel fabric factory in Lahore, said, “This has been the best year in my 15 years of doing business. Pakistan is the second cheapest in fabric after China.”
Another reason for Pakistan holding on to its market share and marginally increasing it despite the 2 million bale shortfall the country is still facing in its cotton crop, Ejaz said, is because, contrary to the other regional players, China and India, it has followed the free market path.