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Pandemic control helps Southeast Asia regain textile and apparel orders


Pandemic control helps Southeast Asia regain textile and apparel

Southeast Asian countries lost quite a few textile orders last year due to the pandemic. However now, as the pandemic situation in these countries is controlled, orders are again flowing back. As per Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce statistics, there has been a 1.1 per cent increase in textile exports in the first quarter of 2021. Fiber and yarn exports grew 31 per cent while exports of canvas and industrial fabrics grew 8.8 per cent.

In 2021, Vietnam aims to increase its textile and apparel exports by 10 per cent to $39 billion, reports China Textiles. The target seems achievable as Vietnam has signed several free trade agreements in recent times. Also, economic recovery of major markets including the US, the European Union, Japan and Korea are likely to boost Vietnam’s exports. VNDirect, a Vietnamese securities firm, predicts Vietnam’s textile exports will grow 8.4 per cent in in the second quarter of 2021.

Pakistan too will exports grow

From July 2020-January 2021, Pakistan’s textile and apparel exports increased over 8 per cent year-on-year to $8.76 billion. As per Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, exports increased by 10.79 per cent to $1.32 billion in January 2021. The main items exported by Pakistan were: high value-added textiles, such as knitwear, towels, bedding, etc.

However, Bangladesh reported a 5.83 year-on-year decline in apparel exports in January 2021. From July 2020, the total value of Bangladesh’s apparel exports declined by 3.44 per cent to $18.408 billion. Exports of woven apparels declined 10.85 per cent year-on-year to $8.419 billion. Meanwhile, exports of knitted apparels increased 3.84 per cent to $9.989 billion. The country exported 62.47 per cent of its apparels to the European Union followed by the US accounting for 18.5 per cent and Canada accounting for 3.11 per cent.

Southeast Asia’s gain leads to China’s loss

Though the outbreak of COVID-19 led to some orders diverting from Southeast Asia to China last year, this situation was controlled by November 2020. The current vaccination drive launched by several countries is expected to attract textile and apparel players back to South Asia.

This does not bode well for China though. March and April are considered peak season for textile orders in the country. However, the situation there is not very optimistic. The recovery of weaving opening rate has slowed down in Jiangsu and Zhejiang leading to an increase in inventory of grey fabrics. The opening rate of dyeing and printing has also slowed down. It would be difficult for China to regain orders lost to Southeast Asia. It can however, focus on enhancing the quality of its textiles and optimizing its supply chain.