Carpet exports via Birgunj show signs of revival

Ravi Dahal

Birgunj, April 9 :

Carpet exports that have been slipping for th e past three years finally seem to be catching up this year. With increase in financial activities in third countries, demand for woollen carpets has increased in the international market, leading to an improved fortune for the carpet export sector in Nepal. The trend of decreasing carpet exports via Birgunj transit point has stopped this year.

Carpet and leather exports from this transit point to the European countries has increased this year. In the first eight months of the current fiscal year, only 0.8 per cent decrease in export of woollen carpet has been registered. However, export of carpet to Germany, the major market for Nepali carpets, has decreased more than 10 per cent, informed the Birgunj Commerce Office. Total carpet exports through Birgunj in the first eight months of the last fiscal year was 0.664 sq million metres while this year it has decreased to 0.6609 sq million metres. The export amount has decreased from Rs 2.31 billion to Rs 1.97 billion, decreasing by three per cent. Carpet exports to Germany via Birgunj transit point has decreased from Rs 1.49 billion ( 0.446 million sq metres) to Rs 1.27 billion (0.497 million metres). According to the Birgunj Commerce Office, there has been a 14 per cent decline in carpet export to Germany on cost basis.

Demand for Nepali woollen carpets declined after Indian carpet manufacturers started to manufacture and export attractive and cheaper carpets. Nepali carpet exporters said that Indian manufacturers use Nepali designs, same manufacturing methods but cheaper materials. Germany, America and Europe were some of the major carpet importers from Nepal. But Nepali manufacturers have been floored by the export of Indian carpets.

Another problem is the high price of Nepali carpets mainly due to high input costs, as raw materials have to be imported from other countries. Nepal imports wool from China and New Zealand.

However, the export of carpets to Europe has increased to 0.169 million sq metres this year from 0.163 million sq metres last year. Similarly, an increase of 68 per cent in cost was also seen. Yam Lal Pandey, chief of Birgunj commerce office, said that by the end of Falgun last year, carpets worth Rs 310.90 million were exported to Europe, while this year Rs 521.45 million worth carpet is already exported. However, a decrease in the export of carpets in terms of both quantity and price, has been recorded this year.

By the end of Falgun last year, carpets worth Rs 211.638 million and of a length of 53.7 thousand sq metres were exported, while this year, only 37.8 thousand sq metres of carpet worth Rs 144.8 million have been exported. However, the exporters are happy that in such conditions also the export is picking up.