Yarn production is set to expand 2.67 percent to 7.70 lakh tonnes this fiscal year on the back of rising garment exports, according to a report from the United States Department of Agriculture.
But the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association says the amount of yarn produced in the country is much higher at 13.50 lakh tonnes a year.
“In our estimate, yarn production in Bangladesh is much higher as cotton import has been on the rise over the last several years thanks to higher demand from garment manufacturers,” its Secretary Monsoor Ahmed said.
The total demand for yarn is more than 21 lakh tonnes. Of the amount, nearly 30 percent is imported, mainly from India, China, Vietnam and Pakistan.
Cotton import in Bangladesh has been increasing between 20 and 25 percent over the last few years, he said.
Last fiscal year, Bangladesh imported nearly 70 lakh bales [480 pounds make a bale], Ahmed said, adding that the quantity will increase 25 percent this year.
Bangladesh's 430 spinners can supply nearly 90 percent of the demand for yarn from the knitwear sector and 35 percent from the woven sector.
As a result, Bangladeshi woven garment manufacturers import fabrics worth more than $6 billion from countries like China, India, Vietnam and Pakistan.
Raw cotton consumption is projected to increase to 6.7 million bales in fiscal 2017-18 on stronger sales of garment and other value-added products in domestic and foreign markets as well, said the USDA report published in November last year.
In fiscal 2016-17, raw cotton consumption was 6.3 million bales, the report said.
The USDA report said, in fiscal 2017-18 yarn and fabric consumption is expected to rise to 1.13 million tonnes and 7.4 billion metres on strong international demand for clothing due to population growth, urbanisation and disposable income growth.
Demand for quality cloth has also increased in domestic markets as wages and living standards are on the rise.
The retail market size of clothing in Bangladesh is nearly $8 billion a year, according to industry insiders.
Gradual development of the upstream supply chain, including spinning, dyeing, finishing, weaving and printing, creates more demand for cotton to meet required supply to the garment industry, the USDA report said.
Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said: “It's normal. Our exports are rising. Since the government is giving LNG supply, so many more factories will come into operation and the yarn production will also grow.”
Fazlul Hoque, managing director of Plummy Fashions Ltd, a Narayanganj-based green garment factory, said both yarn production and consumption will continue to grow as the country's garment export has been rising every year. Yarn consumption at his factory has been growing at more than 10 percent year-on-year as his knitwear export is also increasing.
Still, there is a gap of 10-15 percent in supply and demand of yarn in the local knitwear sector, Hoque said.
So, there is scope for further production in the country. Moreover, there are a lot of varieties of yarn, which are mainly imported now to meet the local demand, he added.
A Matin Chowdhury, managing director of Malek Spinning Mills Ltd, a leading yarn producer, said yarn consumption in the local markets also increased due to higher consumption of clothing items by the people in the country.
Moreover, some spinning mills have of late gone into operations as the government has offered them gas connections, Chowdhury said.
Garment makers use more local yarn mainly to reduce the longer lead-time, he said, adding that this is one of the major causes for higher consumption of yarn in Bangladesh.