Exports up 19.9pc to Rs 68.2b

- RAJESH KHANAL, Kathmandu

May 13, 2014-

Exports of Nepal’s major export products, including woollen carpet, readymade garment and large cardamom, have surged in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, thanks to a depreciation of the Nepali rupee against the US dollar.

However, Iron and steel products, which have emerged as the largest export items over the last few years, posted a meagre 1.2 percent growth to Rs 9.18 billion.

The overall exports grew 19.9 percent to Rs 68.2 billion.

Export earnings from woollen carpet increased 39 percent to Rs 5.48 billion, while exports of readymade garment surged 46.4 percent to Rs 4.01 billion, according to the Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC). Large cardamom saw its exports soar 40.1 percent to Rs 3.69 billion.

Iron and steel products are also Nepal’s second largest import items after petroleum. The country imported iron and steel products worth Rs 47.24 billion over the review period, according to TEPC.

Exporters attributed the growth in exports, particularly of readymade garment and carpets, to the appreciation of the US dollar. In the case of readymade garment, market diversification towards Europe from the US has also helped boost their exports.

“The strong dollar resulted in high export earnings,” said Yagya Pokharel, an exporter of readymade garment. “Orders have also increased 12-15 percent,” he said, adding the demand from European countries like Italy, Germany, France and Spain has increased. “We have been receiving bulk orders in the recent days from these countries.”

The US was the main buyer of Nepali garment products until 2005. But after the end of quota system in the year, Nepali garment products lost their competitive edge, eventually losing the US market. Although India was emerging as the next growth market for Nepali garment, the countervailing duty imposed on the product by India last year resulted in a drop in garment exports to the southern neighbour.

As Europe has emerged as the major market for Nepali garment, carpet exports to the US have increased notably. “Demand from the US is on the rise,” said Lanka Man Roka, past president of Nepal Carpet Exporters’ Association. According to carpet exporters, US buyers purchase high-value (more than 100 knots) carpets.

As far as iron and steel products are concerned, manufacturers say the exports to new markets, such as African countries, helped the sector grow.

Bal Krishna Shrestha, past president of Nepal Steel Rolling Mills Association, said orders have been encouraging in the recent days due increased demand from both India and Africa.

“Mainly, the demand for MS Pipe, zinc sheet and iron rod made up of prime billet has surged,” said Shrestha, adding they were exporting zinc sheet to India and some African countries, including Kenya.

Published: 14-05-2014 08:57

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