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July-March exports soar riding on RMG sector

  • Published at 01:14 am April 8th, 2019
web-Apparel workers are at work in a factory  MEHEDI HASAN
Photo: Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The export earnings are 7.20% higher than the target of $28.82 billion set for the period

Bangladesh’s export shipments in nine months of the current fiscal year have risen by 12.57% to $30.90 billion, riding on the apparel sector bolstered by improved safety standards and political stability. 

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data released yesterday, during the July-March period of FY2018-19, Bangladesh earned $30.90 billion — up from $27.45 billion during the same period in the previous fiscal year (FY2017-18). 

The export earnings are 7.20% higher than the target of $28.82 billion set for the period.

Meanwhile, in March of this year alone, export earnings rose by 9.35% to $3.34 billion — up from $3.05 billion in March 2018. 

“It is a good sign that double digit growth in 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 has told the Dhaka Tribune. 

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

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.

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. 

The apparel sector, the $30 billion industry employing 4.4 million workers, contributed $25.95 billion to Bangladesh’s total export earnings, up by 12.57% from $22.83 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year.

Of the total export earnings by the apparel sector, knitwear products earned $12.80 billion, which is 13.65% higher than the $11.32 billion earned during the same period of FY2017-18.

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. 

“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 of Babylon Group, has told the Dhaka Tribune.  

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

Export performance of other major sectors

Among other major sectors, agricultural products posted a sharp rise of 53.05% growth to $722.73 million in the first nine months of FY2018-19, from $472.23 million in the previous fiscal year.

Additionally, export earnings from the pharmaceuticals sector rose by 30.35% to $100 million, up from $76.52 million, and plastic goods rose by 18.34% to $87.09 million, up from $73.59 million during the July-March period of FY2018-19.

However, 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.