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Bangladesh's export earnings rise over 13% in July-January of FY2018-19

  • Published at 10:32 pm February 6th, 2019
File photo of containers in Chittagong port Md Manik/Dhaka Tribune

The RMG sector contributed to $20.21 billion of Bangladesh’s total export earnings

Bangladesh’s export earnings have seen a 13.39% rise to $24.17 billion in the July-January period of the current fiscal year (FY2018-19).

According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data released on Wednesday, during the July-January period of FY2018-19, Bangladesh earned $24.17 billion; up from $21.32 billion during the same period in the previous fiscal year (FY2017-18).

The export earnings are 7.91% higher than the target of $22.40 billion set for the period.

In January of this year alone, export earnings rose by to $3.68 billion; up from $3.40 billion in January 2018.   

Economists and business leaders claimed that calmness in the country's political arena, the US-China trade war, and improvement in safety conditions in the RMG (ready-made garment) factories were main reasons behind the push in export earnings.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, former caretaker government adviser AB Mirza Azizul Islam said that the double digit growth in export earnings is a positive development for Bangladesh since the country's economy is primarily driven by exports.

"In the July-January period of the current fiscal year, Bangladesh’s business environment was calm despite the national election held in December last year," said Mirza, adding that as production in the manufacturing industry "remained vibrant", export earnings rose sharply.

"Moreover, the US-China trade war was a blessing for Bangladeshi manufacturers, especially the apparel makers," the economist explained, adding that US retailers relocated its business from China to Bangladesh because of the trade war.

"However, Bangladesh has to be well-equipped to retain the work order flow for further growth," he added.

RMG sector in the driving seat

The ready-made garment (RMG) sector contributed $20.21 billion to Bangladesh’s total export earnings—up by 14.51% from $17.65 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year.

Of the total export earnings by the apparel sector, knitwear products earned $10.14 billion, which is 13.86% higher than the $8.90 billion earned during the same period of FY2017-18.

Woven products earned $10.07 billion, up by 15.18% from $8.75 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year.

The specialized textile sector saw a 41.11% growth to $84.03 million from $59.55, while home textile products saw a negative growth of 0.79% to $490 million from $494.09.

Export performance of other major sectors

Among other major sectors, agricultural products also posted a sharp rise of 61.03% growth to $579.61 million in the first seven months of FY2018-19, from $359.94 million in the previous fiscal year.

Additionally, export earnings from the pharmaceuticals sector rose by 31.60% to $79.27 million from $60.24 million, and plastic goods rose by 19.66% to $67.06 million from $56.04 million during the July-January period of FY2017-18.

However, earnings from leather and leather goods witnessed an 11.71% negative growth to $626.42 million during the period from $709.51 million during the same period of FY2017-18.

Jute and jute goods, the third export earning sector, registered a 24.66% negative growth to $498.66 million, which was $661.86 million during the same period in the previous fiscal year.

Exports of frozen and live fish returned a registered positive growth of 2%, earned $361 million; up by from $354 million in FY2017-18.

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