UK helps Indian silk exporters tide over US loss

Bangalore, Apr 29 | Updated: Apr 30 2007, 08:11am hrs
Indian silk exporters have something to cheer about. With declining demand for the products from their major market, the US, the exporters have found a saviour in the UK.

As per the latest figures released by the Central Silk Board for the April-November 2006 period, the UKs share of silk imports from India showed nearly 2%, while the US market dipped by 2%.

The decline in the US market has been due to various reasons including other dress materials gaining market share. While exports to the US came down to 27.8% compared with 29.8% during the same period in the previous year, the UK market went up from 9.7% to 11.6%. On the revenue front, while the US declined from Rs 602.8 crore to Rs 575.38 crore, the UK went up from Rs 196.15 crore to Rs 239.34 crore.

Official sources said that the silk imports, which remained stagnant in the UK in the previous years, started gaining momentum from 2002-03. India contributes 17% to the UKs silk imports followed by China at 14%.

In the silk fabric segment, India accounts for nearly 50% of the UKs requirement. Silk fabric exports to the UK increased to $31.42 million in 2005-06 from $20.26 million in 2003-04 and it is expected to increase by 15-20% in 2006-07.

For 2006-07, the ministry of textiles had set a target to export silk materials including readymade garments, carpets, wastes and fabrics worth Rs 3,200 crore.

Although the exports to the traditional market, the US, have declined, exporters hope to achieve the target as orders from the UK and the UAE have surged in the recent months.

Combined share of the UAE and Saudi Arabia in the Indian silk exports increased to 8.6% in the April-November 2006 period from 7.5% in the same period a year ago, while revenues from these countries also went up to Rs 176.56 crore from Rs 151.60 crore.

During the period, the US, the UK, Italy, the UAE and Germany stood as the top five countries importing Indian silk goods accounting for 27.8%, 11.6%, 6.7%, 5.9% and 5.7% respectively.