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Dhaka Tribune

Denim export to US remains high in Jan-Aug’22

Bangladesh exported denim apparel worth $638.94 million, a year-on-year rise of 46.37% from $436.53 million of the same period of 2021

Update : 20 Oct 2022, 06:58 PM

Bangladesh is maintaining its growth in exporting denim apparel to the US as the top supplier, despite slowdown in the US due to falling consumer demand caused by global economic challenges.

According to the Commerce Department’s Office of Textiles and Apparel (Otexa) data, in first eight months (January-August) of 2022, Bangladesh exported denim apparel to the North American country worth $638.94 million, fetching a year-on-year rise of 46.37% from $436.53 million of the same period of 2021.

The US imported denim apparel worth $2.84 billion during the aforementioned period of 2022, noting a modest increase of 31.29% from $2.17 billion in the same period last year.

In 2021, Bangladesh became the top denim exporter to the US for the second consecutive year and currently holds a 22.96% market share of the US denim market as the market leader as of August 2022, and remained the top exporter in the European Union (EU) market since 2017.

According to industry insiders, Bangladesh was still leading the market despite global economic turbulence, inflation, and hoped to be the dominant exporter by the end of this year as Bangladeshi denim is the biggest brand in the US market and US buyers considered it an elite product of high quality.

Besides Bangladesh, imports from second supplier Mexico increased 20.56% to $498.25 million, from $413.26 million in the mentioned period of 2021, with a market share of 16.97%.

Imports from disaster-stricken Pakistan soared by 41.48% to $329.05 million in the first eight months of 2022, up from $232.57 million in the same period of 2021, with an 11.15% market share.

Vietnam secured fourth position with a market share of 10.8% and shipments from the country grew by Y-o-Y 28.69% to $306.8 million in the mentioned period, up from $238.4 million in January-August period of 2021.

Shipments from China continued to lag, up 13.93% to $264.95 million in January-August of 2022 from $232.56 million in the same period of the last year, with a market share of 9.64%, Otexa data said.

However, the import of denim apparel from the US slowed again in August. 

Recently, Levi Strauss & Co, a major denim importer in the US, slashed its annual sales and earnings forecast last week as a result of the cautious outlook for North America and Europe due to macroeconomic conditions and ongoing supply chain disruptions.

Levi’s now predicts that sales will grow 6.7-7% to $6.15-6.17 billion instead of $6.4-6.5 billion. 

“We have taken swift and decisive action to successfully navigate the dynamic operating environment,” Harmit Singh, CFO of Levi's, told the media, adding that they were controlling discretionary spending.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Mohiuddin Rubel, director of the BGMEA and additional managing director of Denim Expert Limited, said that the growth from September will decrease.

“Bangladesh has always been good at denim and dominates the USA where Mexico is the 2nd highest supplier, exporting more than $100 million less than us, although they are neighboring countries,” he added.

Bangladesh is doing well due to efficiency, strong backward linkage, quality products and many more reasons, he said adding that orders shifting from China and Vietnam is also a factor.

However, the weakened post-Covid-19 economy further dampened due to war which led to lower growth, “If the situation is normal, we will always be ahead,” he added.

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