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RMG export jumps 14.17% in July-February

Bangladesh RMG industry, the prime exporting sector, has earned US$23.12 billion in the July-February period of the fiscal year 2018-19

In July-February period of the current fiscal year, export earnings from the readymade garment sector went up by 14.17 percent to US$23.12 billion, which was US$20.25 billion in the same period last year, according to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data.

RMG export jumps
Figure: Bangladesh apparel export jumps 14.17% in the July-February period of the FY19.

The sector has exceeded the export target set for the period. The earnings from the sector were 7.97% higher than the target of $21.42 billion set for the period.

Of the total amount, knitwear products earned $11.5 billion, which is 13.5 percent higher than the same period a year ago. Woven products drew more than $11.64 billion, up by 14.84 percent compared with the corresponding period a year earlier.

Terming the growth ‘satisfactory’ considering the present apparel prices and global demand, garment sector leaders stressed the need for enhancing price competitiveness, productivity and government policy support to sustain competitiveness.

Mahmud Hasan Khan, Vice President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), opined that woven subsector’s growth was still below expectations.

“Local woven item makers have been struggling to cope with new challenges as their buyers are reducing the volume of orders following failure to meet lead time,” he said.

Without efficient port and strong backward linkage industry, especially for the woven subsector, it might not be possible for the subsector to achieve the growth and earnings as expected, he mentioned.

“Maintaining a moderate export earnings growth in the current financial year is a good sign for the readymade garment sector but there are some concerns as the volume of RMG export is increasing but not the value,” Centre for Policy Dialogue Distinguished Fellow Mustafizur Rahman said.

He also opined that diversification was needed within the RMG and manufacturers would have to go for value-added products to remain competitive in the global market.

Mustafiz also urged that the government should take initiatives to make the non-RMG products competitive in the global market to attain the required economic growth in future.

According to the data, export earnings from leather and leather products fell by 11.50 percent to $694.72 million in July-February of FY19 from $784.97 million in the same period of FY18.

Export earnings from leather-footwear increased by 7.62 per cent to $393.31 million while leather products fetched $222.87 million with a 42.05-percent negative growth in the period.

Export earnings from jute and jute goods in July-February of FY19 fell by 24.36 percent to $560.56 million from $741.12 million in the same period of FY18.

Export earnings from specialized textiles (Chapter 58-60) in July-February of FY19 increase by 42.13 percent to $98.21 million from $69.1 million in the same period of FY18. Chapter 58-60 include terry towel (5802), special woven fabric (59) and knitted fabrics (60).

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