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Bangladesh home textiles earn $1.33 bn in 10 months

Home textile gains second main export earner title

Defying all odds, Bangladesh’s home textile export claimed the title of the second main export earner sector of the country. According to recently released Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, in July- April of FY 2021-2022, home textile exports earned $1.33 billion, growing by 39.13% year-over-year.

Bangladesh home textiles-exports earnings
Figure 1: Main reasons for steep rise in exports earnings.

The EPB data showed that in the first ten months of FY 2021-22, Bangladesh exported $39.52 million worth of terry towels, special woven fabric export earnings reached $27.40 million, $195.62 million worth knitted fabrics, terry towel export earned $42.01 million with 26.19% growth and specialized textiles earned $277.15 million.

Bangladesh home textiles-factors
Figure 2: Bangladesh home textiles boom factors.

Bangladesh offers the best quality home textile products basket to international brands and retailers, which is another main reason for the steep rise in export earnings. On top of that Bangladesh’s ability to produce bulk products also aided the country to grow.

The country’s home textile export basket includes bed linen, bed sheet and other bedroom textiles, bath linen, carpets and rugs, blankets, kitchen linen, curtains, cushions and cushion cover and covers for quilts.

Sector leaders opined that with a strong backward linkage for the home textile sector and manufacturers are proficient in meeting the demands of raw materials from local sources. That is why, Bangladesh’s home textile industry is going ahead at full throttle.

Bangladesh home textiles-products
Figure 3: Bangladesh home textiles products.

Bangladesh’s key markets are Europe, Canada, the UK and Japan. Nevertheless, the country’s home textile exports are growing in new markets such as Australia.

But this is the positive side of the picture. Bangladesh’s share in the global home textile export market is only 7%. Despite Bangladesh having immense prospects in home textile – as it can offer competitive prices as labor costs here are the cheapest.

Whereas, Bangladesh’s South Asian neighbor, Pakistan’s exported $2.727 billion worth of bedwear in July-April FY22.

Sector front-runners stressed that one of the main setbacks reasons of Bangladesh’s home textile is facing a strong trade opposition from India and Pakistan for the continued devaluation of their currency against the major reserve currency of the world.

M Shahadat Hossain, Chairman, Bangladesh Terry Towel & Linen Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BTTLMEA) said, “I will say that unmindful devaluation of US dollar maybe be good for exporters – but it will overall impact us on a greater scale as essential raw materials like cotton and chemicals have to be imported. At the same time, entrepreneurs, workers and general people alike – all will suffer of the situation.”

“Yes, India and Pakistan are benefiting from the unimaginable devaluation of rupees, but especially Pakistan is in acute political, energy and financial crisis. Whereas, our political stability is good. Which is instrumental for growth. Also, our energy stability is quite good. These factors are certainly aiding us in maintaining a steady export growth.”

“So, for us to increase home textile export I think the government needs to play the biggest role through policy support. First and foremost, the govt. should withdraw the 37% duty on cotton import. As we are the second biggest cotton importer. This is hindering our export growth. Govt. must immediately withdraw all types of duty on raw materials. Also, customs harassment should be and ensuring seamless port handling is paramount for our growth.”

The government’s policy support is paramount for the sector. Experts highlighted that increasing the cash incentive for exports to 10% from the present 4% and providing seamless service at ports will be instrumental for growing export earnings from home textiles.

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