In August of FY24, Bangladesh’s export revenue amounted to $4.78 billion, marking a slight 3.8% year-on-year (YoY) growth compared to the $4.60 billion earned in the corresponding month of the previous fiscal year.
However, these exports fell short of the targeted $4.87 billion for the month, recording a 1.81% deficit as per data recently released by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). With the exception of the readymade garment (RMG) sector, most major sectors experienced losses during this period.
During August of FY24, the RMG sector, which serves as the country’s leading export industry, generated $4.04 billion in revenue, achieving a modest YoY growth of 7.99%, up from $3.74 billion in the same period of the preceding fiscal year.
Furthermore, EPB data revealed that Bangladesh made export earnings totalling $9.37 billion in the initial two months (July-August) of the current fiscal year, representing a notable 9.12% year-on-year growth. In contrast, during the equivalent period of FY23, the country had earned $8.59 billion.
In the first two months of FY24, the RMG sector exhibited a moderate year-on-year growth of 12.46%, reaching $7.88 billion in revenue, in contrast to the $7.11 billion recorded during the same timeframe in FY23.
Among apparel products, knitwear registered a growth of 17.02% to $4.58 billion from $3.91 billion in the same period of the last financial year, while woven garments saw a growth of 6.86% to $3.41 billion from $3.19 billion, said the EPB data.
According to EPB data, apart from the RMG, major export-earning sectors turned negative in the first two months of FY24.
Among other major sectors, the leather and leather product sector earned $194.82 million in July-August of FY24, fetching a negative growth of 12.73% from $223.23 million in the mentioned period of FY23.
After returning to the positive trend after almost one and a half years, the jute and jute goods sector again dipped into a negative trap in July-August of FY24, bagged $140.46 million, 10.31% lower than $156.61 million in the same period of FY23, EPB data stated.
Agricultural products registered a very slim negative growth of 0.80% to $174.49 million, slightly lower than $175.80 million in July-August of FY23.
Another promising sector, home textile, was still struggling in the export market.
The sector posted a negative 53.40% growth in July-August FY24 to $125.14 million, which was $268.52 million in the July-August period of FY23.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said that though the growth is slim, they are happy with that amid the global economic situation.
“Most of our competitors are experiencing negative growth where we still have positive growth thanks to the sincere and hard work of our members,” he added.
“We posted earnings growth because we ventured into high-value clothes manufacturing and buyers increased unit price for those goods, though export volume has now decreased,” he also said.
Moreover, although they are receiving fewer orders from the US, Germany and Poland, they are doing well in the non-traditional markets – Canada and the UK – which also helped with export earnings.
“Currently, we are working aggressively on branding, increasing image through apparel diplomacy and manufacturers brands meetings. For the last few days, we have been conducting programmes on circularity with the brands,” he added.
Mohiuddin Rubel, director of the BGMEA and additional managing director of Denim Expert Limited said that the overall growth in RMG export is quite impressive.
“However, the recent trend in trade reflects a depressing scenario of the retail business and economy, which might be continued throughout this year,” he added.
For Bangladesh, the positive side is that they are being able to gradually diversify products and move toward sophisticated items, which is reflected in the growth, he added.
Syed Ali Alfe Sany Akash, director of the Bangladesh Jute Goods Exporters Association, said that they posted negative growth as the overall export orders are unfavourable as the major export destinations – such as Turkey, Iran, and African countries – are experiencing US dollar scarcity. The situation will not improve before the global economic crisis is resolved.
Bangladesh earned $55.56 billion in export earnings in FY23, posting a narrow 6.67% year-on-year growth.
Source: Dhaka Tribune.