A 5.57 per cent slump in the volume of Indian garment exports between April and August has been blamed on stiff competition from China and Bangladesh.

The latest figures from the Apparel Export Promotion Council show readymade garment exports from India in the April-August period fell 3.24 per cent in value terms. Apparel exports stood at 494.7 million pieces valued at $1,845 million against 523.9 million pieces amounting to $1,906.8 million during the same period previous year.

Exports to the US rose 41.53 per cent to 176.2 million pieces during the period, up from 124.5 million pieces last year. However, lower unit prices meant export values climbed 16.84 per cent from $749 million in the same period of 2001.

Export volumes to the European Union dropped 2.85 per cent to 255.6 million pieces from 263.1 million pieces in the previous year. But they rose around 10 per cent in value to $768.9 million from $698.7 million.

Industry sources quoted by Financial Express that competition from countries such as China has hit unit prices, especially in major markets like the US.

"In the US market, reduction in unit price has been very high in products like gent's shirts (32.17 per cent), ladies' dresses (23.53 per cent), trousers and shorts (25.30 per cent) and other apparel items (29.59 per cent). Gent's shirts which were priced at $7.15 are now able to earn only $4.85 during the period in the US market," the sources said.