Pakistan's textile and clothing exports fell by 5% to US$5.96bn during first half of the current fiscal year 2011-12, according to the latest data released by the country's Federal Bureau of Statistics, with local industry groups blaming the drop on ongoing power shortages.

The figures show that in the six months from July to December, the export value of knitted garments dropped 5% to US$1047m and cotton yarn fell 21% to US$776m. But exports of cotton cloth and ready-made garments were up 7% and 2% respectively in value terms. Footwear exports remained flat at US$47m.

The domestic textile and leather industries are being hit by energy shortages, especially in the province of Punjab where gas was supplied for just half of 2011. On top of this there have been 6-8 hour daily electricity cuts for the industry.

Unprecedented energy shortages are the main reason for the substantial drop in exports, according to Mohsin Aziz, chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA).

He says the textile industry lost US$1bn in exports in first half of the current fiscal year and is likely to lose another US$2bn in the second half.

The figures contrast with a 35% hike in textile and clothing exports in the fiscal year to June 2011, which reached a record level of US$13.8bn. This was mainly triggered by higher commodity prices and government subsidies.