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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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An increase in tax was made on restaurant card payments.

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After 15 years, the SRB reduced the service tax that 58 hotels and restaurants in Karachi could have charged on debit and credit card purchases to 15%. This action is a part of the Sindh budget, which was designed to make eating out less expensive for customers.

Prior to this, Sindh’s tax on credit and debit card purchases was lowered from 15% to 8%.

Officials from the SRB have further stated that the service was made available for input adjustment of restaurant tax payments. With this step, businesses will be able to efficiently handle their tax responsibilities and the tax process would be made simpler.

Only a few eateries have been given authority to remove the lower tax rate, even though this tax facility has been reversed.

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The KSE-100 Index rises following a sharp decline in the previous session.

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The government is considering filing a treason case under Article 6 against PTI founder Imran Khan, former president Arif Alvi, and former deputy speaker Qasim Suri. On Tuesday, the KSE-100 Index was up more than 1.3% during early trading, following a day of roughly a 2 percent loss due to growing political unrest and the potential banning of the party.

However, the benchmark index of the Pakistan Stock Exchange was trading at 79,074.63 by 11:49 a.m., having gained 535.45 points, or 0.68 percent, after reaching an intraday high of 79,578.04.

Market analysts said that political tensions were the primary cause of the KSE-100’s earlier Monday decline of 1578.71 points, or 1.97 percent.

They did point out, though, that a correction was a reasonable reaction to the protracted upswing that allowed the benchmark mark index to reach 81,839.86 on July 18.

As a result of interest rate cuts and the possibility of another IMF program, the Pakistan Stock Exchange has gained 22.97 percent so far this year. The cycle began on June 10 with a 1.5 percent decrease in borrowing costs.

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In interbank trade, the US dollar crushes the Pakistani rupee.

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During interbank trade on Tuesday, the US dollar’s value increased by 15 paisas, reaching Rs 278.45.

It is important to remember that Fitch Business Monitor International expressed concern about the possibility that Pakistan’s economic stability may be jeopardized by the ongoing political unrest.

The fragile situation of Pakistan’s economic recovery was emphasized by Fitch in its most recent Pakistan Country Risk Report, which also noted that economic activity has been impeded by urban protests.

(PTI),In spite of multiple successful judicial appeals, the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) is expected to stay behind bars, the article notes, underscoring the fragile political environment.

With no urgent plans for new elections, this scenario suggests that the coalition administration will remain in office for the next 18 months.

Fitch also described an eventuality in which the government could change and be replaced by a technocratic administration. This suggests that the government of Pakistan would carry out the reforms demanded by the IMF, contributing to the 3.2% GDP growth expected in 2024–2025.

The policy rate has stabilized above projections, while the research predicted it may reach 16 percent this fiscal year and 14 percent the following year.

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