According to preliminary data released on Monday by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), Pakistan’s textile sector exports experienced a significant decline of 28%, coming in at $1.2 billion in February 2023 as opposed to $1.67 billion recorded in the same month of the previous year. The association also noted that the nation’s textile exports fell from $12.60 billion in the eighth month of FY22 to $11.24 billion in the first eight months of FY23, an 11% decline. The South Asian economy, which is already dealing with declining foreign exchange reserves, is concerned about the decline in textile exports. Just $3.81 billion in reserves, or barely enough for a month’s worth of imports, are still available at its central bank. However, another loan inflow from China will give the level a slight boost. Industrialists have expressed concern over the ongoing downturn in the textile industry after data released on Friday by the Pakistan Cotton Ginner’s Association (PCGA) revealed that cotton arrivals in Pakistan also fell 34.5% year over year. The All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) urged the federal government last month to create a level playing field for the nation’s export industry by implementing a uniform gas price of $7 per MMBtu. The government’s decision to halt the regionally competitive energy tariff (RCET) of electricity for Export Oriented Units (EOUs) will harm the textile industry, especially in Punjab, according to the APTMA. Back in December, APTMA wrote a letter addressed to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, warning that the country’s textile exports could fall below $1 billion a month from 2023 onwards, highlighting a range of issues facing the sector that is currently operating at less than 50% capacity utilisation.