Agri Business

Silk exports shrink as pandemic hits demand

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on November 18, 2020

Shipments of silk products have taken a major beating as the Covid pandemic has shrunk the demand in key markets of Europe and the United States, exporters said.

The exports are down by 28 per cent in dollar terms during the April-September period this year over corresponding last year. Shipments stood at $79.16 million or ₹591.72 crore during April-September as against $111.19 million or ₹791.89 crore in the same period last year.

“The spread of Covid and lockdown in the US and Europe are the main reasons for the decline in exports. The outlook for the rest of the year is not that great as the spreading of a second Covid wave in these regions is a big worry,” said Bimal Mawandia, Chairman of the Indian Silk Export Promotion Council. Mawandia further said that for the current financial year, exports of silk goods could be lower by 40-50 per cent over last year’s $350 million.

“In the first three to four months of the current financial year, the exports were down by 80-90 per cent due to the lockdown and other logistics issues. As silk is a luxury item, buyers are very cautious,” he said.

Imports, too, suffer

India, the second largest silk producer in the world after China, also has a big domestic market. In fact, India imports raw silk to meet its domestic demand.

Moreover, it’s not just the silk goods exports that have been impacted. Even the imports of raw silk, yarn and fabrics have taken a beating due to the Covid. Silk goods imports fell sharply to ₹272 crore ($36.22 million) during H1 this fiscal from ₹781 crore ($110.15 million) in the same period last year, on account of sharp decline in import of raw silk and yarn. H1 raw silk imports were valued at ₹203.92 crore ($27.17 million) as compared to ₹588.45 crore ($82.92 million) in the same period last year.

Published on November 18, 2020

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