Pakistan's textile and clothing exports grew 8% to US$6.9bn in the first half of the current fiscal year, helped by improved availability of yarns and fabrics for domestic garment makers.

According to the latest data released the country's bureau of statistics, exports of woven ready-made garments were up by 7.9% to US$936m in the period from July to December, while knitted garments rose 5.4% to US$1.12bn.

Exports of cotton cloth climbed 6% to US$1.4bn, and synthetic textile items jumped 25% to US$203m. Shipments of cotton yarns, however, were down 3% to US$1bn, due mainly to a drop in exports to China.

Footwear exports surged by 5.9% to US$52m, led by a 12% rise in exports of leather footwear to US$44m during the period.

SM Tanveer, chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) Punjab chapter, told just-style that export growth was due to improved energy supplies to the textile industry in the province of Punjab, where more than 70% of the textile industry is located.

The country's textile and clothing exports could grow even more rapidly in the coming months following its duty-free access to the EU market under the GSP+ scheme from 1 January 2014.