China's textile exports have been hit by Sars as buyers have reacted to the epidemic by switching orders to competitors in India, Pakistan and Turkey, according to industry sources quoted by the Financial Times. China's textile exports in the first two months of this year totalled US$9.6bn, 23.3 per cent higher than in the same period last year. Industry executives predicted zero growth for the second quarter. For the whole of 2003, exports had been forecast to rise 3 per cent to US$62bn; seen as conservative at the time, this estimate is now regarded by many as optimistic.
The slump in demand has affected domestic cotton prices, which by early May had fallen to Yn12,700 a tonne. Sars is also said to have affected exports of food and agricultural products, because of fears that the virus could survive in shipment.