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Weavers needled by silk price

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A woman weaves silk in Preak Tov village, in Kandal province’s Khsach Kandal district, last month. Photo by: Heng Chivoan

SILK thread imports for textile weaving dropped by 25 percent in 2010, the Khmer Silk Village Association has said.

Kae Muny, general secretary of the association, said spiralling silk thread prices in 2010 fuelled a significant reduction in the import of thread, with amounts dropping by a quarter on 2009 to just 300 tonnes.

“We imported less silk thread last year because silk weavers had cut down their production due to the high price of raw materials,” Kae Muny said.

In 2010, imported raw silk cost on average US$41 per kilogramme, $11 higher than in 2009. The cost of raw silk has continued to rise this year, with imported silk thread valued at $52 per kilogramme at the end of January this year.

Kae Muny said there was unlikely to be any relief for silk weavers if prices remain high, impacting on the quantity of silk imported from countries such as China and Vietnam.

“It is difficult to estimate the amount of silk thread that will be imported this year, as today the silk price has soared and we don’t know when it will go down.”

Men Sineurn, executive director of the Cambodian Craftsman Association, said rising silk prices in late 2010 signalled that raw silk imports would continue to decline.

Men Sineurn told The Post last year Cambodian silk weavers had little option but to use imported thread, as locally produced raw silk could only meet one percent of market demand. In August, industry sources said as many as half the Kingdom’s silk weavers had abandoned their jobs in the two months previous as prices rose.

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