Bangladesh’s export earnings has seen a 7.15% jump to $17.91 billion in the first half of the current fiscal year riding on the RMG sector’s booming business.
According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data released on Thursday, during the July-December period of FY2017-18, Bangladesh earned $17.91 billion, which is 7.15% higher compared to $16.72 billion in the same period in FY2016-17.
During this period, the RMG sector, which contributes over 82% to total exports, earned the country $14.77 billion, 7.75% up compared to $13.70 billion in the same period last year.
Knitwear products earned $7.60 billion, an 11.47% rise, and woven garment products earned $7.18 billion, a 4.08% rise, compared to $6.81 billion and $6.9 billion respectively in the corresponding period last year.
In December, export earnings rose by 8.42% to $3.35 billion, which was $3.09 billion in December 2016. The figure is 1.84% less compared to the $3.41 billion target set for the month.
Among the major sectors, export earnings from frozen and live fish stood at $312 million, agricultural products at $310 million, pharmaceuticals at $50 million, jute and jute products at $574 million, specialised at $48 million, home textiles at $408 million, furniture at $24 million, and non-leather footwear at $130 million.
On the other hand, earnings from plastic goods decreased by 27.51% to $46.63 million, leather and leather goods fall by 1.21% to $620 million and raw jute by nearly 20% to $82.77 million.
“Bangladesh export earnings are showing positive trend but the growth is less than expectations. As per the industry capacity and economic status of the country it should be double digit,” Exporters association of Bangladesh (EAB) president Abdus Salam Murshedy told the Dhaka Tribune.
This is because of slower growth in the RMG sector, which is going through transformation due to safety inspection. But, in the next six months of the current fiscal, it would gear up as the inspection is almost done and the capacity the industry will increase, said Salam, also a former president of Bangladesh Garment Exporters and Manufacturers Association.
In attaining the targeted export growth and government vision, the manufacturers will have to go for production engineering and automation to increase the volume of production. The government should keep the prices of fuel and electricity level so as not to increase the production cost, said Salam.
“There is a question about the sustainability of the present growth rate as seen in the last fiscal year. In the last year, we have seen more or less the same growth but in the closing it came to below 2%,” former caretaker advisior AB Mirza Azizul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune.
“We have to keep in mind that the consumers expenses for clothing products and other did not increase despite a better economic outlook in the United States as well as in European Union countries,” said Islam.
To remain safe and boost the export growth, Bangladesh must focus on new markets and emerging markets such as China and Japan. Product upgradation is a must for better price, said the economist.