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Pakistan’s textile exports see massive decline of 28% in Feb

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  • Textile exports plunge to $1.2 billion in February.
  • Exports in first eight months of FY 2023 decreased by 11%.
  • APTMA urges govt to seek concession from IMF for exporters.

KARACHI: Pakistan’s textile exports dropped for the fifth consecutive month in February, seeing a decline of 28% and landing at $1.2 billion as compared to the same month of the last fiscal year, The News reported Tuesday. 

All Pakistan Textile Mills Association’s (APTMA) data showed a dismal picture of the exports of textile goods — the largest contributor in the overall export sector as well as the largest employment-generating sector of the economy.

The country’s textile exports in the first eight months of the current financial year decreased by 11% to stand at $11.24 billion, declining from $12.60 billion recorded in the corresponding months of the last financial year, said the APTMA. 

The decline in textile exports comes at a time when the country is already facing depleting foreign exchange reserves, which are just $3.81 billion, hardly sufficient for less than a month of imports.

Last month, APTMA urged the federal government for a level playing field by implementing a uniform gas price of $7 per mmBtu for the export industry across the country. 

It also warned that the decision of the government to suspend the regionally competitive energy tariff (RCET) of electricity for export-oriented units (EOUs) would hurt the textile industry, particularly in Punjab.

APTMA’s Secretary General Shahid Sattar in a letter to the government said that the textile industry has been asking for an electricity tariff of 9 cents despite the fact that the electricity cost, including transmission and distribution losses, stood at 8.1 cents per unit if cross-subsidies were excluded as per Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) calculations.

The textile body wants the government to persuade the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to continue RCET for the exporters, particularly the textile sector, which was vital to make the products competitive in the international market.

“We have invested $5 billion in the textile sector over the last three years, and the textile sector surged to $19.5 billion in the financial year 2022 from $12.5 billion in FY2020,” Sattar said. 

If the government succumbs to the IMF pressure, the robust growth of 55% in exports in FY22 and investment of $5 billion would go to waste, he pointed out.

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Moody’s says the IMF programme will increase Pakistan’s foreign financing.

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Moody’s, a reputable international rating agency, has stated that Pakistan’s chances of acquiring funding will increase as a result of the recent agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which offers dependable sources for that purpose from both friendly countries and international financial institutions.

According to a recent Moody’s analysis on Pakistan’s economy, social unrest and tensions could result from Pakistan’s ongoing inflation. The country’s economic reforms may be hampered by increased taxes and potential changes to the energy tariff, it continued.

Moody’s, on the other hand, agrees that the coalition government headed by Shehbaz Sharif of the PML-N is in danger of failing to secure an election mandate, which may potentially undermine the successful and long-lasting execution of economic reforms.

The government’s capacity to proceed with economic changes may be hampered by societal unrest and poor governance, according to Moody’s.

In order to appease the IMF by fulfilling a prerequisite for authorising a rescue package, the government raised the basic tariff on electricity, which coincided with the most recent increase in fuel prices announced on Monday. This report was released by Moody’s.

Food costs have increased in the nation, where the vast majority is experiencing an unprecedented crisis due to the high cost of living, following the government’s earlier presentation of a budget that included a large increase in income tax for the salaried classes and the implementation of GST on commodities like milk.

The most recent comments were made following Islamabad’s achievement of a staff-level agreement for a $7 billion contract that spans 37 months and is contingent upon final approval by the IMF Executive Board.

It states that Pakistan will need foreign financing totaling about $21 billion in 2024–2025 and $23 billion in 2025–2026, meaning that the country’s present $9.4 billion in reserves won’t be sufficient to cover its needs.

Therefore, according to Moody’s, Pakistan is in an alarming position with regard to its external debt, and the next three to five years will be extremely difficult for the formulation and implementation of policies.

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Base Of bilateral relations: China And Pakistan Reiterate Their Support For CPEC

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China-Pakistan economic corridor is a major project of the Belt and Road Initiative, and both countries have reiterated their commitment to it. It remains a fundamental aspect of their bilateral relations.

Vice Chairman Zhao Chenxin of the National Development and Reform Commission of China and Minister Ahsan Iqbal of Planning and Development met in Beijing, where Ahsan Iqbal made this assurance.

The summit made clear how committed China and Pakistan are to advancing their strategic cooperative partnership in all weather conditions.

The focus of the discussion was on how the CPEC was going, with both parties reviewing project development and discussing how the agreement made at the leadership level will lead to the launch of an enhanced version of the CPEC.

In order to improve trade, connectivity, and socioeconomic growth in the area, they emphasised the need of CPEC projects.

The Ml-I Project, the KKH realignment, and the Sukkur-Hyderabad motorway—the last remaining segment of the Karachi-Peshawar motorway network—were all to be expedited.

Expanding the partnership’s horizons to include technology, innovation, education, connectivity, and renewable energy sources was another topic of discussion.

Specifically in the special economic zones being built under the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation (CPEX), Vice Chairman NDRC emphasised the possibility of China investing more in Pakistan.

In addition to expressing confidence in the ongoing success of the two nations’ collaboration, Zhao Chenxin reiterated China’s support for Pakistan’s development aspirations.

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Pakistani government raises petrol prices

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A recent announcement states that the price of petrol has increased by Rs 9.99 per litre, to Rs 275.60 per litre.

The cost of high-speed diesel has also increased significantly, rising by Rs 6.18 a litre. Diesel is now priced at Rs 283.63 a litre.

Furthermore, kerosene now costs Rs 0.83 more per gallon.

The cost of products and services is predicted to rise in response to the increase in petroleum prices, further taxing household budgets and jeopardizing the stability of the economy.

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