Textile exports boom, possibly on mask materials

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Textile exports boom, possibly on mask materials

Textile exports boomed last month, possibly on the higher demand for materials to manufacture face masks.

The exports of textiles and clothing exports came at $72.61 million in January, 8.8 times the exports in January last year ($82.96 million) and 89.7 percent of annual exports last year ($80.91 million), according to the Korea International Trade Association on Wednesday.

Mask and mask material exports are not broken out, but the sale of many textiles and clothing items were stable on year, suggesting that mask and mask material exports may have risen.

China bought 84.5 percent of the total textile and clothing exports in January, which is a 75.2-fold jump from $820,000 in January last year to $61.35 million in January this year.

The weight of textile and clothing exports to China increased 37 times from 36 tons January last year to 1,331 tons January this year.

Imports, on the other hand, declined. Textile imports totaled $21.13 million in January, down 5.5 percent from the same month last year.

As the coronavirus’s rapid spread around Daegu and North Gyeongsang caused a shortage of masks, the government imposed emergency adjustment measures of restricting mask and hand sanitizer exports starting Feb. 26.

From the day of the implementation of restrictions to last Saturday, the number of mask exports plunged to an average of 10,000 per day, according to the Korea Customs Service.

Exceptions to export restrictions will not be recognized until the supply and demand of masks stabilize in Korea.

BY HAN YOUNG-HYE [kim.yeonah@joongang.co.kr]

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