Textile & garment exports inching along at snail's pace
Thailand has had a very vibrant textile and garment sector. Research and development activities in the past had contributed to the progress of the industry. But in the last few years, stagnancy has crept in to the sector.
Exports though have not gone down, but are inching along at a snail's pace. Compared to double digit growth posted by countries like China, Bangladesh and Vietnam, exports of textiles and apparels from Thailand have recorded insignificant growths.
Exports from the sector grew from US $6.69 billion in 2005 to just $6.83 billion in 2006 to clock a growth rate of 2.11 percent. Shipments further rose to only $6.96 billion in 2007 to register a growth rate of a marginal 1.94 percent.
In the first half of the current year, overall shipments have grown to $3.57 billion from $3.37 billion in the corresponding period of last year to clock a growth rate of 5.94 percent. Out of which exports of garments amounted to $1.47 billion and $1.45 billion respectively and that of textiles $2.1 billion and $1.92 billion respectively in the same comparable period.
Exports of garments grew by a marginal 1.37 percent only while on the other hand textiles grew by a decent 9.37 percent in the period under review.
Amongst major countries importing from Thailand, exports to Japan witnessed record growth rates; but however, shipments to its biggest customer the US, showed a minor drop, a fall nevertheless.
Exports to Japan grew from $184.6 million in the first half of 2007 to $241.2 million in the same period of the current year which converted in to a high growth of 30.66 percent, while shipments to the US fell from $954.9 million to $940.7 million in the period under review to post a negative growth of 1.49 percent.
Recessionary trends in the US markets, without doubt may have led to this de-growth as major exporting countries like China and India have also been affected by the same in the current year.
Another major buyer of textile and garment goods from Thailand, the European Union block of fifteen countries also imported more in the first six months of the current year than the corresponding period of last year.
The EU-15 countries imported goods worth $667.1 million in the first half of 2008 compared to $644.9 million in the same period of 2007. When evaluated with figures of 2007, exports rose by 3.44 percent in 2008.
The other notable destination which clocked above average rates was the nine country bloc compromising the ASEAN. This major block of nine countries imported textile and garment products worth $509.8 million in the period January to June 2008 in comparison to $436.8 million in the similar period of 2007, to post a growth of a respectable 16.71 percent.
Exports to other countries, apart from the above countries totaled to $1.08 billion in 2008, in contrast to $1.01 billion in 2007, in the periods under review.
The textile and garment industry goes back a long way in Thailand. But smaller and nimble footed countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam have managed to corner global market share from countries like Thailand.