ISLAMABAD - Exports of textile and clothes recorded a growth of over seven percent during first five months (July to November) of the current fiscal year (FY) due to a cash subsidy offered to the exporters under the prime minister’s incentives package and the payment of sales tax refunds.

The country exported textile and clothes of worth $5.5 billion during July-November period of the FY 2017-18 as against $5.1 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

Revival of the textile and clothes’ exports enhanced the country’s overall exports to $9 billion during the current financial year as compared to $8.2 billion in the corresponding period of the last year.

Exports could further go up in the months to come due to the recent rupee depreciation against the dollar. Pakistani rupee depreciated by 4.8 percent last week. Dollar’s value has gone beyond Rs110.5 per rupee, closer to the equilibrium.

For the last couple of years, the exporters have been continuously demanding rupee depreciation against the dollar to enhance the country’s exports , which tumbled by around $5 billion in the last few years.

The government had offered the subsidy scheme under the prime minister’s exports enhancement package and had released the pending refunds and ensured better energy supplies.

These steps helped the exporters enhance their exports during the period under review.

According to the PBS, the main driver of growth was the value-added textile sector. Exports of readymade garments went up by 14.69 percent in the first five months of the ongoing financial year. Similarly, exports of knitwear increased by 12.07 percent during the period under review. Exports of bed wear went up by 6.65 percent .

In the category of primary commodities, exports of cotton yarn witnessed a growth of 0.64 percent while the exports of yarn other than cotton recorded a rise of 15.81 percent . Exports of made-up articles, excluding towels, had increased by 7.92 percent . Art, silk and synthetic textile exports grew by 55.30 percent during the period under review.

However, exports of tents, canvas and tarpaulin dipped by 33.56 percent . Exports of cotton products also recorded a decline of 95.71 percent during July-November period of the year 2017-18 over a year ago.

On the other hand, the imports went up by 21.1 percent and were recorded at $24.1 billion during first five months of the current financial year as against $19.9 billion during the same period last year. Pakistan’s combined import bill of food, oil and machinery swelled by over 15.32 percent during July-November of the ongoing financial year.

The import bill of these three groups had cost $12.8 billion during July-November of the FY 2017-18 as against $11.1 billion in the corresponding period of the last year.

The country spent $5.56 billion on the imports of petroleum group, which is 35.96 percent higher than a year ago.

In the petroleum sector, the government imported petroleum products worth $3.3 billion and spent $1.5 billion on petroleum crude.

Similarly, the country imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) worth $701 million and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) worth $127 million.

The PBS data showed that country had spent $4.5 billion on importing machinery during first five months of the ongoing financial year.

The third biggest component was food commodities whose imports rose 16.08 percent year-on-year to $2.72 billion.