21:45:53 local time CHINA
* Sharply-slowing textile exports worry industry:
New figures have showed that China’s textile and garment exports slowed drastically in the first fourth months of this year as domestic companies worry about decreases in their market share overseas and inadequate support from consumption at home.
The export value of textile and garments in the January-April period stood at $71 billion, just 1.07 percent higher than a year ago, according to data released on Thursday by the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC).
The growth rate witnessed a sharp decline from the 27.05-percent rise registered in the first fourth months in 2011, judging by customs data.
Breaking the market down, exports of textile products grew only 0.15 percent to $30.73 billion, while garment exports increased 1.77 percent to $40.27 billion, the CNTAC data showed.
“The slowing exports were directly caused by higher domestic cotton prices,” said CNTAC spokesman Sun Huaibin. The domestic price of 328-type cotton stood at 18,853 yuan ($2,974) per ton as of May 25, 5,460 yuan higher than its price in international markets. read more.
* China”s textile industry performed a slowing trend in January to April:
Data showed that China”s textile industry performed a slowing trend in January to April, its specific performance was that production growth slowed down; structural adjustment pace of investment further accelerated; price increase of textile and garment exports narrowed; export volume experienced negative growth; growth rate of industry profits declined obviously.
In the first half of 2012, the industry continues to face higher external risks, it will still be the top priority for the industry to further improve risk control and response capacity. read more.
* Higher prices weaken China’s exports of textiles and garments:
NEW figures have showed that China’s textile and garment exports slowed drastically in the first four months of this year due to rising domestic cotton prices, falls in market share overseas and inadequate support from consumption at home.
21:45:53 local time PHILIPPINES
* Labor rights group slam junking of child labor case vs. Eton Properties:
The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (EILER) is decrying the recent move of the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office to dismiss the child labor case against Eton Properties and contractors. The said case was considered to be the strongest among the series of cases filed as part of the campaign for justice for the 10 Eton Residences workers who fell to their death in an accident at a construction site in Makati on January 27, 2011.
The group said the dismissal was a blow against the families of the victims, particularly the family of 17-year-old Kevin Mabunga, one of the killed workers. It also said the dismissal went against the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) campaign against child labor. read more.
* Philippines expects huge growth in abaca fibre exports:
Seeing the growing demand for abaca fibre in the global market, the Philippines’ Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA) is expecting another year of record high growth in abaca fibre exports.
Last year, Philippines produced 73,274 metric tons of abaca fibre worth P2.92 billion. This constituted a 28.1 percent rise in volume and 52.6 percent growth in value over 2010 levels.
In 2011, Philippines exported a record US$ 140.27 million (P6.33 billion) worth of abaca fibres, showing a jump of 34 percent compared to exports worth US$ 104.534 million posted a year earlier. read more.
20:45:53 local time THAILAND
* Brokers’ role in exploitation of migrant workers highlighted:
Profiteering on migrant labour markets in Thailand by private and governmentappointed brokers is a major reason exploitation of foreign labourers continues and is so hard to suppress, according to a network of activists on labour migration. (…)
The Labour Ministry said there are around two million Myanmar workers staying in Thailand, both illegally and legally. Permanent secretary Somkiat Chayasriwong yesterday welcomed Suu Kyi’s speech promising to bring home all Myanmar nationals when the country had developed politically and economically. read more.
20:45:53 local time CAMBODIA
* Long hair a luxury for evictees:
Kheng Chen had her hair cut in January and sold it to a broker for just under US$8. She isn’t happy with the close-cropped style because it makes her look older than her 48 years.
But when Kheng Chen grows her hair back in a few months, she plans to sell it again.
“Every woman loves hair, every woman wants to be beautiful,” she said. “But between beauty and having nothing to eat, which one do I need to choose?”
Kheng Chen is not alone in her dilemma. She lives in the Borei Keila community of evictees in Kandal province. They are among 133 families that were evicted in January by private security forces hired by development firm Phan Imex.
And now she is one of more than 30 women who have decided to exchange locks for bucks. Out of embarrassment, many wear scarves to cover up the tomboyish hairdos.
The buying and reselling of natural hair is nothing new, but it is just catching on in Cambodia. The Phnom Penh-based company Arjuni is edging into a field typically dominated by India and China, according to a story about the business in The New York Times this week. read more.
21:45:53 local time SINGAPORE
* ‘Wage revolution’ causes outcry:
Singapore takes pride in its economic development. Between 1965 and 1984, it was one of the world’s fastest growing economies, with an average annual growth rate in real GNP per capita of 7.8 percent. (…)
There is no minimum wage in Singapore. While some economists believe that minimum wage is an idea to consider, employers think otherwise.
“It is certainly worth thinking about,” says economist Manu Bhaskaran, director of Centennial Group, a strategic and advisory firm. “Latest economic research suggests that in a second-best world, a carefully structured minimum wage could be a positive.”
But Stephen Lee, president of Singapore National Employers Federation, a union of employers, is unconvinced. It is a “risky” solution to the problem, he says.
“In Singapore, most of the low-wage workers are employed in small and medium enterprises where margins are small. A minimum wage would make such businesses and workers very vulnerable,” he says. read more.
20:15:53 local time MYANMAR
* Suu Kyi talks to Chalerm on workers’ issues:
Prodemocracy icon turned Myanmar parliamentarian Aung San Suu Kyi yesterday met with Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung at Government House to discuss problems faced by Myanmar workers, including abuse at the hands of Thai employers, along with other issues. (…)
During their conversation, Suu Kyi was heard saying jokingly to Chalerm: “Thai authorities are obliged to ensure Myanmar workers live happily in Thailand, or I will take all of them back home when the situation in Myanmar is better.”
Suu Kyi also expressed thanks to Thai authorities for having sheltered and taken care of war refugees, while Chalerm gave a promise that they would not be returned home unless their safety was guaranteed. He also said that when the Bt300 minimum daily wage took effect throughout Thailand in June, all registered Myanmar workers would be paid the same amount. read more.
* Forced Labor Deemed Rife Despite ILO Report:
Human rights groups insist that forced labor continues to be widely and systematically practiced in Burma in contrast to an upbeat International Labour Organisation (ILO) report deemed key to removing further trade restrictions.
A special sitting on Burma is due to be held on Saturday during the International Labour Conference to review restrictive measures placed in 2000, and an ILO mission this month stated that “there had been a substantial reduction in, or in some cases a cessation of forced labor, particularly in the last few months.” read more.
* Thailand ‘Threatened’ by Loss of Burmese Workers and Rise of Burma’s Economy:
Burma could draw investment away from Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to become Southeast Asia’s low-cost manufacturing base over the next 15 or so years.
And its geographical position makes it an ideal location to sell those products, especially clothing and footwear, to both China and India, says The Economist newspaper.
“Countries like Cambodia, which has carved out a niche for itself in the low-cost textile business, could suffer, as could Vietnam. But no country will have to adjust to the new reality more than [Burma’s] immediate neighbour, Thailand,” said The Economist. read more – Burma Business Roundup (Saturday, June 2).
19:45:53 local time BANGLA DESH
* Gooryong Fashions plans green building:
Gooryong Fashions Ltd, a Gazipur-based garment group, has signed agreements with two consultancy firms to set up a green building at its existing premises within the next one year.
Green building refers to a structure that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout the building’s life-cycle: from sitting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.
The move comes in response to growing demand from international buyers for clothing items manufactured with environment-friendly technologies. read more.
19:15:53 local time INDIA
* The price of cheap clothes?:
A report by Anti-Slavery International claims that Indian textile firms, which supply some of Britain’s biggest high street retailers, are operating near slave labour conditions.
It says that nine well-known stores, including Tesco, Mothercare and Marks and Spencer have bought garments from one such manufacturer.
The organisation informed nine big retailers at the end of 2010 that some young women in their supply chains are working excessive hours, sometimes for less than £1.50 a day.
It says many weren’t allowed to return home to their families for weeks at a time.
The three British retailers insist that their own investigations have found these claims against one particular Indian supplier to be entirely unfounded.
But according to Anti-Slavery International and the Dutch campaign group SOMO, who between them have interviewed more than 200 current or former Indian textile workers, widespread exploitation is common across India’s textile industry.
read more & listen to BBC report.
* slavery on the high street:
New research from Anti-Slavery International exposes how top UK high street brands are selling clothing made by girls in slavery in southern India. read more.
* Apparel, accessory brands to raise prices by up to 15% on weakening rupee:
Several international apparel and accessories brands plan to increase prices by up to 15% to cope with the rupee’s free fall, while some look to absorb about one-fifth jump in their import costs in an already struggling market.
“Branded retail in the premium segment is probably in the worst time since I am in the business,” says Ramesh Tainwala, co-owner and chairman of Planet Retail, which operates department store Debenhams, British fashion chain Next, men’s lifestyle brand Nautica and fashion accessories brand Accessorize in India.
While a few international brands are locally manufactured for sale in India, many of them are imported as finished garments. read more.
* Technical textiles usage in healthcare may touch $ 1 bn:
Specialised textiles usage in the country’s healthcare sector is expected to touch $ 1 billion by 2016-17 on account of rapid growth in medical segment, a study has said.
Specialised or technical textiles segment is engaged in production of specialised variant of the commodity used by industries. read more.
19:15:53 local time SRI LANKA
* Sri Lanka Exports Fall Most in 30 Months on Tea, Textiles:
Sri Lanka’s exports declined the most in 30 months in March as demand for textiles, tea and rubber moderated. read more.
* Sri Lanka aims to become leather items manufacturing hub:
The Government of Sri Lanka has initiated several steps to establish the country as a production hub for quality shoes and leather items.
Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development Minister Douglas Devananda said that to upgrade these industries in lines with the Mahinda Chinthana vision for the future programme, the Government has introduced tax concession on import of machinery, equipment and raw materials. read more.
18:45:53 local time PAKISTAN
* ‘Readymade garments worth $1.2bn exported during last nine months’:
Minister for Finance, Dr Hafeez Shaikh during a press conference held to launch Economic Survey 2011-12 said readymade garments worth $ 1.2 billion were exported during last nine months of this year. In quantity terms the decline in the exports of readymade garments was 22.5 percent. He informed that the garment industry provides highest value addition in the textile sector. read more.
* APTMA urges IESCO to obey higher authorities order:
Mr Mohsin Aziz, Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) has urged the Islamabad Electric Supply Co (IESCO) officials to obey the command of higher authorities on electricity supply to textile industry on industrial feeders.
He said both President Asif Ali Zardari and Minister for Water and Power Syed Naveed Qamar have assured of no load shedding on industrial feeders and if any, it would be no more than four hours a day.
Mohsin said all DISCOs are following the instructions in true letter and spirit except IESCO where unannounced and unscheduled load shedding for 12-14 hours a day is being observed since last few days.
He said the textile industry was quite satisfied with the government decision of five days a week gas supply after intervention from the Minister for Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain and exemption from power load shedding on independent and grouped feeders made by the President about a month back. Accordingly, he said, the textile exports had started showing improvement and chances of meeting export target were high. read more.
* Pakistan textile sector may get relief in Federal Budget:
Pakistan’s Textile Ministry has requested allocation of Pk Rs. 42 billion for the country’s textile and garment sector in the upcoming Federal Budget.
Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) Central Chairman Shehzad Salim is optimistic that the Government would accept the request of the Textile Ministry.
He, however, added that only Rs. 14 billion would be available for the development and upgradation of the textile and apparel sector if the requested amount is sanctioned, as Rs. 28 billion would go towards clearing outstanding dues of the exporters.
Mr. Salim informed that in the last Budget, against the Textile Ministry’s demand for Rs. 30-35 billion, the Government sanctioned Rs. 7.5 billion and only Rs. 6 billion was actually released.
He noted that the textile and garment industry in Pakistan employs over 38 percent of the country’s total workforce, and hence any relief to the textile industry implies relief to the people at large.
Relief provided to the textile and apparel sector would lead to generation of more employment opportunities for poor unskilled workers, he added.
He said the funds allocated for the textile and garment industry would directly advantage those employed in the sector.to read.