According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) provisional data, in July-April of FY19 readymade garment sector earned $28.49 billion
Bangladesh apparel exports to global markets have seen a 12.59% rise to $28.50 billion in the first ten months of the current fiscal year.
According to the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) provisional data, in July-April of FY19 readymade garment sector earned $28.49 billion, up by 12.59% from $25.30 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Of the total export earnings by the apparel sector, knitwear products earned $14.08 billion, which is 12.32% higher than the $12.54 billion earned during the same period of FY2017-18.
Woven products earned $14.40 billion, up by 12.85% from $12.76 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal year.
The specialized textile sector saw a 36% growth to $125 million from $92, while home textile products saw a negative growth of 3.74% to $723.60 million, down from $752.67 million.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, trade analysts and industry people have cited improved safety standards in the apparel sector and political stability as reasons for the growth.
“The present growth rate is quite good as December-March was peak season for closing the shipments. Safety improvement in the sector and political stability after the election were positive indicators for the country’s business environment,” Faisal Samad, senior vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told the Dhaka Tribune.
"But", he said, "the work order flow is not so good."
"So, I cannot rest assured that the growth momentum will continue in the months to come as the sector is going through competition due to rise in wage and production cost," said Faisal, also managing director, Surma Garments Ltd.
Amid challenges, the new board just took charge of the BGMEA and it was working to identify new areas having more opportunity to grow, he added.
Economists, however, are hopeful about continued growth momentum as the trade war between the USA and China was still heating up.
“In beginning of the year, the government projected single digit growth but there has been a double digit growth. It is a positive sign for the apparel sector,” Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told the Dhaka Tribune.
What needed to be looked into was if the buyers increased prices of products or not as it was crucial to adjust new cost caused by the new wage structure, said the economist.
He also expressed hope about sustaining the double digit growth as the demand for Bangladeshi goods would remain higher due to the China-US trade war.
“It was assumed that the trade war would calm down but recent developments do not show that,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the sector people want continuation of government policy support in the upcoming budget to sustain the growth.
“In the last few years, production costs went up but the prices did not increase and rather fell both in EU and the US market,” Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB) President Abdus Salam Murshedy told Dhaka Tribune.
He urged the government to continue the existing fiscal policy support for the sector as it had to spend a lot of money to improve the safety standard as per the retailers' requirement.