According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, earnings from RMG (Ready-made Garments) export for July-February of FY 2019-20 is USD21.84 billion.
Export earnings from apparel items dipped 5.53% compared to the same period of FY 2018-19 July-February.
Earning from woven garments fell by 5.88% to $10.948 billion in July-February of FY20 from $11.633 billion in the same period of last fiscal year. On the other hand, knitwear export fell by 5.17% to $10.898 billion from $11.493 billion.
The global pandemic Coronavirus and resulting disease Covid-19 played a significant role in the downtrend of apparel export.
Rubana Huq, President, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association said, “It is extraordinarily alarming for the economy that the country’s export was negative for six out of eight months of the current financial year 2019-20.”
Table: Apparel export performance for July-Feb. 2019-20
|Products||Export performance for July-Feb. 2019-20||Export performance for July-Feb. 2018-19||% Change of export performance
July-Feb. 2019-20 Over
“The challenges and weaknesses remain, and the sector has lost its competitive edge as the price continues to decline, a mandatory annual increment of wages has taken place, and our currency remains stronger compared to other currencies against the US dollar,” Rubana said.
On top of that, the price of electricity has gone up by 4.9 percent, said the BGMEA President, adding that coronavirus outbreak was also predicted to have a certain impact on the industry in terms of delay in imports, production and shipment hold back, cash flow crisis, and slump in retail sales.
“The retail market is also not trending well. US clothing retail sales in January went down by 3.1 percent, which is worst in the last 10 years. Shopping malls in few big cities have already started facing the effect of coronavirus,” Rubana said.
She termed the present time as extremely challenging and said, “There was no better time than now to support the country’s readymade garment sector for its survival.”
The export of the home textile sector witnessed a steep decline of 7.47% – the sector exported USD 0.526 billion.
Other than apparel product the export earnings from Jute and jute goods in July-February of FY20 went up by 24.45% to $0.697 billion from $0.560 billion in the same period of last fiscal year.
Bangladeshi apparel industry leaders opined to have localization of material-components with a mid-long-term focus in mind to tackle this type of global instability.