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Double-digit growth in apparel export earnings continues

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the apparel sector earned $25.95 billion from export in nine months of the current fiscal year up by 12.57% from $22.83 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year.

2019 BD apparel export earnings
Figure 1: It is a good sign that double-digit growth in apparel export earnings continues.

Of the total apparel export earnings, knitwear products earned $12.80 billion, which is 13.65% higher than the $11.32 billion earned during the same period of FY 2017-18.

Woven products earned $13.15 billion, up by 13.07% from $11.51 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year.

The specialized textile sector saw a 36.63% growth to $112.5 million from $82.34, while home textile products saw a negative growth of 3.36% to $647.34 million, down from $669.87 million.

“It is a good sign that double-digit growth in apparel export earnings continues, which is also higher than the export target set for the time,” Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) research director Khondaker Golam Moazzem said.

Moreover, the double-digit growth in the apparel sector means stability in the sector; apparel makers are taking advantage of work orders shifting from China over the tariff tension with the USA, said Moazzem.

earnings from bd apparel & textile sector FY18 19
Figure 2: The earnings from apparel and textile sector in nine months (July to March) of the current fiscal year 2018-19.

Also, it is a good omen for the Bangladesh economy that the non-RMG sectors such as agriculture, frozen foods, and pharmaceuticals are doing better, observes the trade analyst.

Bangladesh, however, needs to focus on infrastructural development and improving ease of doing business to attract the foreign direct investment relocating from China, Moazzem finds.

Political stability and uninterrupted services and safety improvement enhance buyers’ confidence. With boosted confidence, the buyers are placing more orders here pushing up the export earnings.

Mohammad Hasan, Executive director, Babylon Group

He stresses that the government and the export-oriented manufacturers must come up with measures in identifying the goods not handled by the Chinese manufacturers or relocating due to the trade war.

“Political stability and uninterrupted services and safety improvement enhance buyers’ confidence. With boosted confidence, the buyers are placing more orders here pushing up the export earnings,” said Mohammad Hasan, Executive director of Babylon Group.

In addition, he mentions China-US trade war as another reason for the sharp rise in export earnings as the buyers hunting alternative sourcing destination.

Among other major sectors, earnings from leather and leather goods witnessed a 9.08% negative growth to $771.69 million during the period, down from $848.79 million during the same period of FY2017-18.

Jute and jute goods, the third export earning sector, also registered a 23.23% negative growth to $628 million, which was $818 million during the same period in the previous fiscal year.

Exports of frozen and live fish with a positive growth of 2.77% earned $419 million, up from $407.71 million in FY2017-18.

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