Garment sector in the country is going through a critical period as export volume of the highest foreign currency earning item has dropped to a record low over the last one-and-a-half month due to global economic slow-down brought on by widespread coronavirus outbreak.
According to the data gathered by Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh, country saw either steep or massive fall in apparel export from March 1 to May 12 compared to the same period in 2019.
Garment factories owners exported the largest raiment’s volume on March 15, a decrease of 30 percent in terms of the same day’s export amount recorded in 2019, as per the data provided by the EPB. It says that half the quantity of the export recorded in March-May period last year was achieved on five more days this year.
In stark contrast to that, apparel export through which the lion’s share of our foreign exchange is earned has gone down remarkably on March 7 (nought), April 1 (slight over 10 percent), April 10, 11 and 18 (less than five percent) compared to the previous year’s export earnings.
As per the EPB’s data, apparel export in Australia has declined 15 percent in recent time compared to the figure of that in April this year while it went down nine percent in Russia, 29 percent in Brazil, 16 percent in Germany, 19 percent in Italy, 20 percent in South Africa, 30 percent in China, 59 percent in Lithuania, 13 percent in the USA, 12 percent in Mexico, 19 percent in Turkey, 8 percent in Spain, 12 percent in the UK, 22 percent in France, 22 percent in Canada, 27 percent in Romania, 60 percent in Czech Republic, 39 percent in Malta, 37 percent in Bulgaria and 30 percent in Latvia.
However, export has gone up 10 percent and 2 percent in Korea Republic and Slovania respectively.
As the global COVID-19 pandemic rages on, many countries are in strict lockdown and fashion brands/retailers closed their shops, which led buyers and brands started to cancel their orders from Bangladeshi garment factories from the beginning of March.
As per the latest data of BGMEA, 1150 garment factories lost more than 98 million pieces of garments order equivalent to US$3.18 billion.
Sadly, some Western clothing brands that agreed not to cancel orders due to the coronavirus epidemic are demanding price cuts of up to 90%. Some of the manufacturers are forced to accept such discounts too. Industry experts condemned this and voiced protest of this unethical buying practices.