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Export earnings fall 17.19% in October

  • Published at 03:39 pm November 5th, 2019
Export Earnings
Dhaka Tribune

The stats was given in the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data released on Tuesday

Bangladesh export earnings declined 17.19% to $3.07 billion in October for the third consecutive month compared with the corresponding months of last year.

The fall is driven by the negative growth in apparel sector, which contributes over 84% of total exports earnings.

According to Export Promotion Bureau data, the country earned $3.07 billion in October, down by 17.19%, which was $3.72 billion in the same month last year.

Export earning was $2.92 billion in September, down by 7.3% compared to the same month of last year while in August, the country earned $2.84 billion exporting goods, down by 11.49% compared to the same month last year. 

According to the EPB data released today, Bangladesh earned $12.72 billion during July-October period of the current fiscal, which is 6.82% less compared to $13.65 billion in the same period a year ago.

The apparel sector, which accounts for 84% of total exports, witnessed a 6.67% decline to $10.59 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year, which was $11.33 billion in the same period last year.

As per the data, knitwear products earned $5.53 billion, down by 5.73%, which was $5.87 billion in previous year.

Woven goods fetched $5.04 billion, posting a 6.09% fall against $5.46 billion in the same period last year.

For the negative growth, exporters and economists have blamed appreciation of taka, economic slowdown in Europe and trade tension between the US and China.

Price negotiation is another big reason, which they say held back work order flow from the buyers.

"Moreover, the July-August period is a lean period for the apparel sector. As a result, the export earning saw continuous decline," Sayeed Ahmad  Chowdhury, general manager, Operation of Square Denim Limited, told Dhaka Tribune.

"We are hopeful about returning to positive growth as the buyers have already started to  place import orders," said Sayeed.

"Buyers are maintaining a conservative approach due to uncertainty over Brexit and trade war between the US and China," former senior vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association Faruque Hassan said.

Because of this, he said, the production cost in Bangladesh went up and the makers were unable to grab orders from the competitors.

Trade analysts and economists also blame a bad relationship with buyers over the Accord on Fire and Building Safety for the downtrend.

"We cannot relate the present downswing of exports to competitors like Vietnam and Pakistan as they are doing better," former World Bank lead economist Zahid Hussain told Dhaka Tribune.

Appreciation of taka against US dollar was a reason, which ate up Bangladesh's competitive edge in the global market, Zahid observed.

Besides, there could be a good relationship with the buyers over the transition of Accord but its absence might have put a negative impact on the work order flow, he added.

Another economist called in question data about the negative growth.

"The present status of the export growth is not clear to me as while others are doing better, Bangladesh is witnessing continuous fall," Centre for Policy Dialogue Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem told Dhaka Tribune.

He also urged the authorities concerned to look into why the export earning was going through a tough situation.

Among other major sectors, agricultural products saw a fall of 2.46% to  $357.5, while frozen and live fish earnings declined by nearly eight percent to $182 million.

Leather and leather goods, the second largest exporting sector, saw an 8.2% fall to $317 million.

However, export earnings from the pharmaceuticals sector rose by 8% to $47 million, and plastic goods by 3.56% to $41 million.

Specialized textile sector saw a 7.54% negative growth to $42 million, while home textile products fell by 11.12% to $240 million. 

Jute and jute goods, the third largest export earning sector, registered a 8.88% growth to $260 million.