According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, Bangladesh apparel export earnings in the month of July and August FY 2019-20 decreased by -0.33%, totaling USD 5.71 billion, which was USD 5.73 billion during the same period in FY 2018-19.
Of the total earnings by the apparel sector, woven products earned USD 2.79 billion in July-August of FY2019-20, marking a -0.94% negative growth from USD2.82 billion during the same period in the previous fiscal year.
The knitwear sector earned around USD 2.92 billion during the same time, up by 0.27% from USD2.91 billion during the same period last year.
On the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha, production of RMG factories remained closed for at least 10 days, which slowed down production, leading to less shipment and negative growth.
Besides, this was a lean period for the sector, which might be another reason for the downtrend, however, the situation would improve in the coming months.
“Global economic slowdown, which created uncertainty and affected trade growth, and appreciation of taka against USD are two major factors for the downtrend in export earnings,” said Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).
Bangladesh’s competitors — India, Pakistan and Vietnam — were making the most of this appreciation as their respective governments devalued the exchange rate, mentioned the economist, adding that even China, the number one exporter of apparel goods, devalued its currency.
Though the Eid vacation could be a reason for the fall, an over 11% fall should not be attributed only to a single reason, he stated, suggesting that the Ministry of Commerce should remain alert and find out the actors playing a role to arrest the country’s export earnings growth.
The home textile products earned $116.79 million, down by -13.06%, which was $134.34 million during the same period in the last fiscal year 2018-19.
EPB data also shows that the growth rate of jute and jute products exports decreased by -0.43%. This sector earned USD 130.57 million in the FY 2019-20 (August).
The export of leather and leather products increased by 1.32%, with USD 185.41 million.
Total export earnings in the second month (August) of FY2019-20 fell by 11.49% to USD 2.84 billion from USD 3.21 billion in the same month of the last fiscal year due to lower shipments of apparel items.