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Apparel exports drop 7.12% during July-March

Apparel exports witnessed a 7.12% decline to $24.10 billion during July-March, the first nine months of the current fiscal year.

As per the data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), released on 15 April, knitwear products earned $11.95 billion in the first nine months of this fiscal year, declined by 6.61% year-on-year.

Woven goods fetched $12.14 billion, witnessing a 7.61% fall against the same period of the previous year.

The country’s total export earnings in March declined 18.29% year-over-year to $2.73 billion. Total export earnings during July-March of this fiscal year declined by 6.24% to $28.97 billion, which was $30.90 billion a year ago.

Figure: Export during July-March of FY2019-2020.

As the global retailers have canceled shipments of finished goods, while the supply chain with China, the largest destination for industrial raw materials for the local manufacturing business, also was almost stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, apparel makers have seen a huge quantity of their work orders canceled or suspended. Of the canceled work orders, some 40% was finished clothes and ready to ship, as per Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

BGMEA data also mentioned that 1,140 apparel exporters have witnessed work order cancellations worth $3.16 billion so far, affecting nearly 2.26 million workers.

It would be very tough to come out of the current trouble time as the big and important export destinations such as the US, Germany, UK and Spain were affected, some business leaders opined.

Leather and leather goods, the second-largest exporting sector, saw a 10.78% fall to $688.51 million in the July-March period.

The specialized textile sector saw a close to 12% negative growth to $99 million, while home textile products fell by 7.59% to $598 million.

On the plus side, jute and jute goods, the third largest export earning sector, registered a robust 23.49% growth to $775.63 million during the period.

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