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Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh’s exports cross $5bn in March

Bangladesh bagged over $5bn worth of earnings for three consecutive months in ongoing FY24 in December, January, February, and March

Update : 02 Apr 2024, 08:01 PM

The country's export earnings experienced a year-on-year (YoY) positive growth of 9.88% to $5.10 billion in March of FY24, higher from $4.64 billion in the same month of FY23.

Bangladesh bagged over $5 billion worth of export earnings for four consecutive months in the ongoing FY24 in December, January, February, and March, according to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data published on Tuesday.

The export earnings target for March this year was $5.15 billion. Last month’s earnings were 0.88% lower than the target.

The RMG sector, the highest export earner of the country, bagged $4.35 billion in March of FY24, fetching 11.71% growth from $3.89 billion in March of FY23, EPB data stated.

According to the EPB data, the earnings in the first nine months (July-March) of the current FY24 experienced a narrow YoY growth of 4.39% to $43.55 billion, higher than $41.72 billion in the mentioned period of the last FY23.

However, the July-March export figure is 5.86% lower than the target of $46.27 billion, EPB data stated.

During the first nine months of FY24, the RMG sector bagged $37.20 billion, fetching a narrow YoY growth of 4.77% from $35.25 billion in the same period of FY23.

Among apparel products, knitwear export reached $21.01 billion, while export from woven items was $16.20 billion with 9.59% and 0.47% positive growth respectively, compared to FY23.

Industry insiders said that the increase in export earnings will boost the country’s forex reserves and lessen volatility in the dollar market.

Except for a slim positive growth of the RMG sector, export earnings from all the major sectors witnessed negative growth in the July-March period of FY24. 

Among other notable sectors, home textile marked a negative growth of 25.98% to $636.53 million, down from $859.94 million in the mentioned period of last fiscal.

Leather and leather goods also experienced a negative growth of 13.65% to $794.19 million, which was $919.73 million in the first eight months of FY24.

In the July-March period of FY24, the export earnings from agricultural products stood at $715.84 million, fetching a positive growth of 5.60% from $677.89 million in the same period of last fiscal.

Export receipts from jute and jute goods again experienced negative growth of 5.60% to $659.54 million, down from $698.7 million in July-March of FY23, EPB data stated.

Another potential export sector, engineering products, again fetched a negative growth of 2.77% to $389.18 million, down from $389.18 million in the same period of last FY.

Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that since January, the apparel sector experienced growth in shipments that exceeded expectations.

He also said the apparel exporters have invested to produce high-value and new products with diversified fibre, which has helped increase exports. 

“Some new markets – Japan, Australia, South Korea and the Middle East were also the reason for the increase in growth,” he added, saying that the apparel exporters will do better in the coming days, as most brands have already cleared their inventory.

He also explained that after a big jump in 2022, most of the brands and buyers had experienced a slowdown in their business due to high inflation in the Western world, which affected the manufacturers. 

“Inflation is already declining and some countries are also reducing their interest rates. The USA and Canada may also reduce their interest rates by May – June this year, which will help their customers to spend on apparel,” he hoped. 

The industry has overcome some challenges during the last year, such as gas prices, wage hikes, and global slowdowns in apparel demand, he added that uninterrupted gas and electricity supply remains a challenge for apparel manufacturers.

BGMEA Director Mohiuddin Rubel also echoed similar sentiments. 

“However, the recent trade trend reflects a depressing retail business and economic scenario. For Bangladesh, the positive side is that we are being able to gradually diversify our products and move toward sophisticated items, which is reflected in the growth,” he added.

According to EPB data, Bangladesh bagged $55.56 billion in export earnings in FY23, posting a narrow 6.67% year-on-year growth.

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