For Pakistani cotton importers, what was supposed to be a year of opportunity might easily become a missed fence. Although textile exporters argue that it will be long before major buyer destinations reopen and demand resurges, international prices of cotton are already back to December 2019 pre-lockdown rate.
This means that a fast decision must be taken by the textile sector of Pakistan. The double-digit month-to-month decline in textile exports between July and August – both volumes and value – is the explanation why there is the hypothesis that instability in export markets tends to occur as the second round of COVID cases accompanied in the northern hemisphere by a further round of lockouts.
However, in the light of contradictory reportings in government departments leading to many downward revisions of production from 12,5 million bales to an eventual 7,5 million bales, damage to the domestic crop last season hurt trust in the reliability of local cotton projections of the value-added industry. While Pakistan has been saved in no time by the COVID-19, 2020-21 could prove to be very different from the highest import bill ever.