Plummeting exports threaten textile job cuts

By Dat Nguyen   July 12, 2020 | 07:44 pm PT
Plummeting exports threaten textile job cuts
A worker makes face masks at a factory in the northern province of Thai Nguyen. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
With global buyers canceling most orders, Vietnam’s textile and garment sector could see more job losses in the second half of the year.

Textile production grew by 2.8 percent year-on-year in the first half of the year compared to 11.5 percent in the same period last year, according to a report by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Garment production fell 4.7 percent with the industry having difficulties sourcing raw materials and rapidly losing export orders to the pandemic.

Many export orders were canceled or delayed in May and June. In May, up to 50 percent of orders were canceled or postponed, and global prices fell 20 percent as a result of the plunging demand, it added.

A report by the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association said 80 percent of businesses in the industry laid off personnel in April and May, and more cuts are expected in the third quarter.

Le Tien Truong, CEO of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group, said the company’s revenues and profit have fallen by half.

The company is making efforts to retain as many of its staff as possible, but if the current situation persists for more than six months, cuts are probable, he said.

Most companies have shifted their focus from clothes to face masks to meet the rising demand globally. Vietnam exported 557 million masks in the first six months, with the U.S., Germany, Singapore and South Korea being the main markets, customs figures show.

But insiders said mask exports would not make up for the lack of garment orders.

Truong forecast that in the worst case scenario textile and garment exports would fall by 23 percent this year to $30 billion.

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