Pakistan Denim Fabric Industry – An Analysis

Pakistan denim industry

Pakistan had always strong textile industry due to historical reasons and an abundance of cotton . With over 380 million mtrs produced and over 150 million mtrs of denim fabrics being exported by Pakistan in 2009-10 , denim is probably the most imp segment of the Pakistani textile industry.

In a recent report  Dr Noor Ahmed Memon from Pakistan mentions that top global denim fabric exporting countries are China, followed by Hong Kong, Turkey, Italy, Pakistan, the USA, India, Japan, Spain and Brazil. Together, these countries accounted for as much as 83% of world denim fabric exports. Almost all of these countries witnessed a decline in their denim fabric exports in 2009-10. The only exception was Pakistan, whose exports rose by a remarkable 75% during the year 2009-10. On the other hand export of cotton denim fabrics from Pakistan increased from 45 million sq meters in 2005-06 to 229 million sq meters in 2009-10, thus showing an average increase of 50% per annum in terms of quantity.

What are the major markets for Pakistani denim fabrics ?

Lets see which are the major markets for Pakistani denim fabrics for the year 2009-10

Country Quantity (mill. sq mtrs) Qty. Linear mtrs (160cm width)
Bangladesh 71.4 44.62
Turkey 61.36 38.35
Italy 9.09 5.68
Hong Kong 4.30 2.68
India 4.08 2.55

Source : FBS Pakistan

Turkey is one of the major markets for denim fabric exports from Pakistan .  With about 39 million mtrs of denim fabric being exported to Turkey in 2009-10 , it is a major market  for Pakistan . However, this export is going to be severely affected with Turkey increasing duties on imports and which will be now 24.5% from 24th July 2011 . The duties on garments also would be 52% – which again will be quite prohibitive . This step by Turkey is going to further affect the denim mills in Pakistan which are already facing the brunt of worldwide fall in demand of denim fabric during the current year.

The other markets for Pakistan like Bangladesh (the most imp one) and others are expected to  keep on performing unlike Turkey. The surprising point to note is that India is becoming an important market for Pakistani denim fabrics . Though the quantities of about 2.5 million mtrs in 2009-10  is still small, it is indicative of the potential of the Indian denim market and it seems that it will become more important in the coming years.  Both the garment exporters from India as well as the local brands are becoming important in India as they are getting more aggressive and to differentiate themselves , they buy fabrics from around the world – Italy, Turkey  , Spain  etc and with Pakistan becoming an imp. source.

The challenge for mills from Pakistan would be to find destinations for denim fabrics as shipments to Turkey go down. Also, the continuously depreciating currency of Pakistan has helped in maintaining the competitiveness of the industry but it is not a factor which can be depended upon for long . Some mills in Pakistan have definitely tried to invest heavily in product development and innovation and this is probably the best way  which will keep the industry going strong in the coming years.


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