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Silk apparel exports on the rise

India's exports of silk garments are on the upswing. There is a demand from traditional markets such as the US, the UAE and the UK. For the first nine months, exports of silk and silk goods were up by about 18 per cent as against the corresponding period last year.

Silk readymade garments accounted for close to two-thirds of total exports in value terms, followed by fabrics and made ups. Exports of readymade garments were up 37 per cent during the first nine months of the current financial year as against the corresponding period last year.

The problem is that production of silk yarn, fabrics and made-ups is not keeping pace with demand. Also exports of yarn and fabrics are not profitable on account of the high cost of fabrics and high incidence of duty on raw silk imports. Exports of fabric and made-ups were 10 per cent lower in the first nine months as against the corresponding period last year. Similarly exports of silk carpets were marginally lower and shipments of silk waste were marginally higher.

Demand has picked up in newer markets such as Thailand and Vietnam and even China, the largest producer of silk.