Exports post 6.66pc growth in 11 months amid leather sector woes

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:05, Jun 06,2018 | Updated: 22:59, Jun 05,2018

 
 

A file photo shows visitors browsing leather goods at a stall at a leather goods fair in Dhaka. Country’s export earnings in the July-May period of the current financial year (2017-18) witnessed a meagre growth of 6.66 per cent as leather and leather products export fell by more than 11 per cent in the period. — New Age photo

Bangladesh’s export earnings in the July-May period of the current financial year (2017-18) witnessed a meagre growth of 6.66 per cent as leather and leather products export fell by more than 11 per cent in the period.
The export of readymade garment, the main export item of Bangladesh, however, posted a 9.77-per cent growth in the period.
Export earnings in the 11 months of FY18 stood at $33.72 billion against $31.62 billion in the same period of FY17, according to the Export Promotion Bureau data released on Tuesday.
The export earnings in May, 2018 grew by 9.01 per cent to $3.32 billion from $3.04 billion in the same month of 2017.
‘Any positive impact of non-RMG products on the export earnings is good for our country. Due to the negative impact of non-RMG products including leather and leather products in the export earnings, the overall export earnings witnessed a meagre growth in July-May period,’ Centre for Policy Dialogue research director Khondoker Golam Moazzem told New Age on Tuesday.
He said that the government should find out the reasons why non-RMG products were lagging behind.
Moazzem said that to gain positive influence of non-traditional products on export earnings, non-traditional markets were also important.
Recently, the currencies of many of the non-traditional markets including China devalued against the dollar and it affected the imports of those countries, he said.
Moazzem also urged the government to take initiative to increase the efficiency of seaport and airport for ensuring smooth export business in the country.
The EPB data showed that earnings from RMG exports in the July-May period of FY18 grew by 9.77 per cent to $28.12 billion from $25.62 billion in the same period of FY17.
The earnings from woven garments in the 11 months stood at $14.18 billion, which is 8.15 per cent higher compared with that in the same period of last year.
The earnings from knitwear grew by 11.48 per cent to $13.94 billion from $12.50 billion.
Mahmud Hasan Khan Babu, vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said that the 11 months’ export earnings growth in RMG sector was not bad but it was still lower than what the trade body expected.
He said that export earnings from RMG witnessed a 0.20-per cent minimal growth in last financial year due to the factory remediation work.
Following the remediation work, most of the factories started production in full swing with increased intake capacity that helped achieve a moderate earnings growth, Babu said.
According to the EPB data, leather and leather product exports in the 11 months of FY18 fell by 11.08 per cent to $999.07 million from $1.12 billion in the same period of FY17.
Leather footwear export increased by 7.14 per cent to $511.58 million, while earnings from leather products fell by 24.40 per cent to $318.46 million in the period.
‘Inefficiency of ports (sea and air) and customs is the key reasons for the negative growth in exporting leather and leather products,’ Mohammed Nazmul Hassan, vice-president of the Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh, told New Age on Tuesday.
He said that imports of raw materials and exports of finished goods both were taking long time due to inefficiency of ports and customs and exporters had failed to maintain export orders.
Nazmul said that many exporters in the leather sector had failed to produce products due to lack of raw materials as the imported raw materials often got lost from the Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport in Dhaka.
‘We faced tremendous problems in Chittagong seaport and Dhaka airport in last three months,’ he said.
Frozen food and fish exports in the July-May period of FY18 fell by 1.59 per cent to $465.32 million from $472.85 million in the same period of last fiscal year.
Earnings from jute and jute goods grew by 6.99 per cent to $966.90 million from $903.69 million.
Agricultural products export in July-May of FY18 grew by 18.09 per cent to $609.01 million from $515.73 million in the same period of FY17.
Earnings from home textile export in the period grew by 11.67 per cent to $823 million from $737.01 million.
The EPB data showed that the export earnings from engineering products in the 11 months of FY18 fell by 50.43 per cent to $327.31 million from $660.36 million in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Plastic products exports fell by 17.82 per cent to $90.04 million from $109.57 million. 

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