Garment exports fall short of target

New Delhi, April 29 (Inditop) Garment exports fell 14 percent short of the $11.62-billion (Rs.581-crore) target for 2008-09 but was 4.6 percent more than that earned last year, the exporters’ umbrella organisation said Wednesday.

Provisional figures released by the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) showed $10.13 billion (Rs.56,000 crore) worth of garments were exported last fiscal, as against Rs.48,400 crore ($9.68 billion) in 2007-08.

“We are happy that garment exports have crossed the $10-billion (Rs.50,000-crore) mark for the first time,” said AEPC chairman Rakesh Vaid. However, he expressed concern over consistent deceleration in growth rate over the past two years.

Vaid hoped the new government would take steps to help the sector retain its share in international market. India is the sixth largest exporter of garments in the world.

AEPC represents over 8,000 small, medium and large exporters.

Recent surveys conducted by the AEPC in garment clusters suggest many exporters have either temporarily shut their units, cut down the number of working days from seven to five or four, or reduced the number of shifts, it said.

AEPC officials said the first four months of 2008-09 saw apparel exports rising to $963 million in April compared to $682 million in the same month the previous year.

“But the downward movement started in August when retail orders from the United States, the European Union and elsewhere began to feel the impact of global economic recession. Garment exports tumbled to $792 million in August 2008 from $800 million in the corresponding period of the previous year,” AEPC said in a statement.

The depreciating value of rupee, however, helped in December and January as exporters were able to lower prices and bag more orders from competing countries like China, Bangladesh and Vietnam, it added.