The value of RMG export orders cancelled or put on hold by global buyers due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak neared $1.5 billion till Sunday, according to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association data.
The BGMEA data showed that a total of 1,089 factories informed the trade body till Sunday about order cancellation or shipment delay notices they had received from the buyers for export orders involving $1.49 billion.
Exporters said that they were getting order cancelation or shipment delay notices from buyers in every hour as most of the fashion retailers had shut their stores in Europe and North America due to the coronavirus outbreak.
BGMEA president Rubana Huq said that that it was not the complete picture.
She said that they prepared the data compiling the information received from only 347 factories and many exporters were yet to send their data to the trade body.
Md Fazlul Hoque, former president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, feared that Bangladesh might lose $6-7 billion of RMG exports due to the outbreak of coronavirus worldwide.
‘The other countries in the world will need at least two months to stop the epidemic as China, where the virus started first in December last year, took more than two months to contain the outbreak,’ he said.
Already many European countries including Italy, France and Spain have announced nationwide lockdowns to contain the outbreak of coronavirus and the retailers in Europe also closed down their stores in many countries, he said.
At the same time North American buyers shut their stores as the US announced a lockdown in many of its states, Fazlul said.
‘Considering the situation, we can presume that the consumers of Europe and America would not buy garments for next two months and buyers would have to reduce their import orders for two months. Now, it is a very simple equation that Bangladesh’s export loss to the US and Europe would stand at $6-7 billion in the two months,’ he said.
Many European countries including Italy, Spain and France declared nationwide lockdowns to reduce the spread of coronavirus and major brands in the economic bloc, including Primark and Inditex, shut their stores and asked Bangladeshi suppliers to hold shipment of ready garments.
Recently, major retailers in North America like Nike, Under Armour, Lululemon Athletica, Lands End, Columbia Sportswear and Gap announced closure or reduction in store hours of all outlets in the United States and Canada amid the rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the countries.
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