While there are indications of a mild recovery in the US market, Bangladesh and Vietnam would be better placed to take advantage of the upturn.

Anil Sasi

New Delhi, Aug. 5 Textile exports to the US have plummeted 12 per cent during January-June this year, even as order inflows position for the second half of the year also looks bleak. The drop in India’s exports comes at the expense of gains made by countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam in the US market.

While Bangladesh’s exports to that country has registered an increase of 10 per cent over the previous year, Vietnam, which has been consistently showing an upswing in recent months to become the third largest source for textile products in the US market, registered a growth of 3 per cent during the period, according to the US Department of Commerce’s OTEXA (Office of Textiles and Apparel) data.

China reported a marginal decline of 3 per cent in exports during the first half of this year.

Mild recovery

While there are indications of a mild recovery in the US retail market, which could translate into higher orders for the coming winter season, industry players say that countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam would be better placed to take advantage of the upturn.

“The domestic market has not deteriorated significantly; therefore the sharp drop in growth in the industry, which has been bogged down by raw material problems and power costs, is primarily attributable to the sharp decline in exports.

“It is clear from the feedback available from the industry that the trend in US imports is representative of the trends in our total exports of textile products and this will become evident once our own export figures become available.

“Besides, there are no signs of export orders for the coming season either,” Mr D.K. Nair, Secretary-General of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry, said.

Yarn, worst hit

A segment-wise analysis of US imports of textile products from India shows that during January-May this year, their import of our apparel products declined by 9 per cent and non-apparel products 17 per cent compared with the same period in 2008.

Among non-apparel products, the worst hit is yarn, which suffered a dip of 47 per cent during this period. Fabric imports registered a decline of 24 per cent.

Data for April to June 2009 released by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) earlier this week showed that the country’s clothing exports were down over 15 per cent to $2.41 billion compared with $2.85 billion in the same period of last year. “The erosion was across all categories,” said AEPC Chairman, Mr Rakesh Vaid.

An industry player said that while there are indications that the worst may be over in the major markets in the West and that some recovery can be expected in a matter of months, Indian exporters could have an uphill task. “Even if the recovery materialises soon, it may not automatically drive the growth of our textiles industry, since we have to compete with countries whose exports are growing even during the current difficult period,” he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 6, 2009)
XThese are links to The Hindu Business Line suggested by Outbrain, which may or may not be relevant to the other content on this page. You can read Outbrain's privacy and cookie policy here.