Apparel exports deliver exemplary performance

September 18, 2008 - Peru

Cotton has always played an important part in Peruvian economy and society. Cotton originated in Peru over 3,000 years. As far back as 1926, Peru was the fourth largest exporter of cotton in the world after the USA, India and Egypt.

Apart from its thriving textile and apparel industry, Peru has a flourishing multi-million dollar Alpaca wool industry and is the largest producer of the Alpaca fibre in the world. Alpaca is a specialty fiber. It is very soft - similar to cashmere and angora in feel and does not have the "prickle factor" commonly associated with lamb's wool. The first textile mill to process Alpaca fibre was set up way back in 1947.

Apart from being ranked as one of the 15 lowest-cost producer countries in the world, Peru’s textile industry has a host of other advantages. High quality of raw material availability, duty-free access to US markets, low cost of production, proximity to North American markets and vertical integration have all gone a long way in strengthening the exports of the country.

Peru is one of the few countries in the world which as seen its exports of textiles and apparels growing, that too in double digits in 2008. This is in face of a growing recession in the markets of its top buyer; the US. While other countries are struggling or reporting negative growth rates in their shipments to the US, Peru has seen its exports growing by leaps and bounds.

Total exports of textiles and apparels, which stood at US $877.63 million in the first seven months of 2007 rose to $1130.82 million in the corresponding period of 2008 to post a stunning growth of 28.78 percent.

These types of growth figures are unheard of in 2008. Countries would be satisfied if they are able to attain growth rates in single digits or even reach export value figures comparable with those accomplished in 2007.

If growth for only garment exports is to be considered than the growth figures climb to an astonishing 31.47 percent. Apparels exported from knitted fabrics accounted for the lion’s share of exports and accounted for 71.45 percent of all textile and garment exports.

Shipments for the same rose from $623.69 million to $807.53 million in the first seven months of 2007 and 2008 respectively, to garner a growth of 29.48 percent.

From amongst categories in knitted fabric apparels, exports of garments manufactured from cotton saw shipments increasing from $ 575.02 million to $731.97 million in the period under preview to seize a growth of 27.29 percent.

On the other hand exports of woven fabric garments which have a weightage of just 8.03 percent in the basket of textile and garment exports delivered a more exemplary performance. Shipments ascended from $59.54 million to $90.73 million in the period January-July 2007 and 2008 respectively.

Though export figures of woven apparels are nowhere comparable with those of knitted apparels, but a growth of 52.38 percent is definitely commendable. Once again exports of cotton woven garments accounted for the major share to touch $66.26 million the first seven months of 2008, compared to $46.39 million in the corresponding period of 2007.

This translated in to a growth of an amazing 42.84 percent. Exports of cotton woven apparels accounted for 73.02 percent of all shipments from the category of woven apparels.

Shipments of textiles also contributed their own mite by reaching $218.07 million versus $185.58 million and other products from the textile and apparels basket managed to touch $13.89 million vis-à-vis $8.82 million in the first seven months of 2008 and 2007 respectively.

The industry has been able to withstand the economic turmoil going across the globe and more in particular the markets of the US. In 2007 the US accounted for 47 percent of all shipments from the sector.

Looking at the resilience, the textile and garment industry of Peru can be expected to deliver a sterling performance in the remaining five months of 2008, provided the cost of production and other economic factors remain as conducive as those in the first seven months.

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