Thai Textile Exports Surge as Foreign Demand Returns
In the first 11 months of 2021, Thailand exported 64.8 billion baht ($1.95 billion) of garments and 188.6 billion baht ($5.67 billion) of textiles, according to Thai Garment Manufacturers Association president Yuttana Silpsarnvitch, as quoted in The National Thailand. This was up from 28.8 billion baht ($866 million) for Thai garments and textile exports in the first five months of the 2020/21 financial year, according to a US Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service report from March 2021. The country’s garment and textile industries were decimated in 2020, with 3,000 factories forced to resort to sewing face masks and PPE suits to survive. But thanks to renewed demand from other apparel-producing countries, they have now returned to full capacity.
India, Vietnam and Indonesia are among the countries driving the spike in textile exports from Thailand, with brands in Europe and the US increasing their orders for products made from recycled fibres, organic cotton and environmentally-friendly materials, according to Silpsarnvitch. A labour shortage has now arisen due to the departure of foreign workers, largely from neighbouring countries, who returned home during the pandemic. Thai factories are currently short of up to 50,000 workers and dependent on overtime work, which could lead to an influx of migrant workers back to Thailand in search of employment now that the industry has recovered.