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Manufacturers seeing new hopes though apparel export declines in July

Bangladesh’s readymade garment (RMG) exported 3.24 billion in the just-concluded month of July, which is 1.98% down compared to July 2019 ($3.31bn) according to the provisional data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Earnings from woven garments fell by 8.43% to $1.49 billion in July 2020 from $1.63 billion in the same period of last fiscal year. On the other hand, knitwear export gained by 4.3% to $1.75 billion from $1.67 billion.

RMG-export-performance-July-2020

Though amid COVID-19 shockwave, the apparel export industry is foreseeing some good signs. Many RMG factories say that new work orders are coming and they have received enough orders to work until September. Thus, the RMG industry is gradually turning around.

Earlier, to slow the spread of COVID-19 garment factories were shut for a month it exported only $370 million worth of clothing in April, the lowest in two decades. The next month, garments worth $1.23 billion were exported. In June, it rose to $2.25 billion. Even then, in the outgoing of the 2019-20 fiscal year, garment exports amounted to $27.95 billion, which is $6.17 billion less than the previous year.

Not to mention the pandemic has unsettled the global apparel supply chain, as the lockdown was put in place to halt the spread of COVID-19 and mandatory factory production and sales at stores shut. As a result, the entire supply chain was troubled and sales also fell globally.

And Bangladesh apparel leaders are hopeful about a turnaround at the end of the year as the stores are started to open, while the lockdown eased to some extent in many countries.

Besides, July’s apparel export earnings were higher compared to the previous months, because most of the shipments that were stuck between April and May for the lockdown all over the world were dispatched in the last two months. Also due to summer season garment sale has peaked opined industry experts.

As for knitwear export growth, Bangladesh is always robust in producing basic garment items, whose demand held up amidst the pandemic in the Western world. On top of it the reopening of stores in the US and the EU is giving confidence to the apparel exporters.

“We are expecting that the garment export will rebound strongly from September onwards because the international retailers are coming back with work orders and they are mainly for basic garment items,” said Mohammad Abdus Salam, acting President of BGMEA.

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