Jul-Jan exports limp past $20b as German market stands tall

Moinul Haque | Published: 22:11, Feb 06,2017

 
 

Bangladesh’s export earnings in seven month of this financial year (2016-17) crossed $20 billion with a meagre growth of 4.36 per cent year-on-year as a buoyant German market saved the blushes of flagging US and UK markets.
Export earnings in the July-January period of FY17 increased to $20.11 billion from $19.26 billion in the same period of FY16, according to the Export Promotion Bureau data released on Monday.
The earnings in the period fell 4.43 per cent short of the target of $21.04 billion set by the government.
Experts and exporters said that the export earnings growth was not satisfactory.
If the situation does not improve, it would not be possible to achieve the export earnings target set for the fiscal year, they said.
The export earnings in January this year grew by 3.97 per cent to $3.31 billion from $3.18 billion in the same month of last year, data showed.
Despite a declining trend in exports to the US and the UK markets, the country’s overall export earnings registered a growth in the July-January period of FY17 due to an encouraging growth in the European market especially in Germany, the second biggest market for Bangladesh.
Export earnings from the US, the single largest export destination for Bangladesh, in the seven months of FY17 fell by 6.61 per cent to $3.40 billion from $3.63 billion in the same period of FY16, according to the EPB data.
Earnings from the readymade garment export to the US market fell by 8.15 per cent to $3.03 billion in the July-January period of FY17 from $3.30 billion in the same period of FY16.
Export earnings from the UK, the country’s third largest export destination, fell by 5.76 per cent to $2 billion from $2.12 billion in the same period of FY16.
RMG export to the UK in the seven months of FY17 dropped by 5.60 per cent to $1.85 billion from $1.95 billion in the same period of FY16.
Export earnings from Germany, the second biggest market for the Bangladesh’s export, grew by 20.76 per cent to $3.36 billion in the July-January period of FY17 from $2.78 billion in the same period of FY16.
Export of RMG products to Germany in the seven months of FY17 increased by 21.60 per cent to $3.14 billion from $2.58 billion in the same period of FY16.
‘Slowdown in the US economic growth and depreciation of the pound in the UK might have affected the export earnings of Bangladesh,’ Policy Research Institute executive director Ahsan H Mansur told New Age.
He said that the government should analyse the markets to find out whether the relative performance was poor.
‘If so, the government will have to take initiatives for increasing competitiveness to retain the market share,’ Mansur said.
The EPB data showed that earnings from readymade garment exports in the July-September period of FY17 grew by 4.14 per cent to $16.41 billion from $13.13 billion in the same period of FY16.
The earnings were still 5 per cent lower than the target of $17.27 billion set by the government for the July-January period of FY17.
Export earnings from the woven garment in the July-January of FY17 grew by 2.37 per cent to $8.35 billion from $8.16 billion in the same period of FY16.
The earnings from woven sector fell 9.40 per cent short of the target of $9.21 billion set by the government.
The knitwear export in the seven months of FY17 grew by 6.03 per cent to $8.06 billion from $7.60 billion in the same period of FY16.
‘There were two main reasons for the slow growth of readymade garment export. One is a decline in global consumption and another is a fall in unit prices of products across the world,’ said Faruque Hassan, senior vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
He said that the currency rate was not export friendly as the appreciation of the taka against the dollar was squeezing the competitiveness of Bangladeshi RMG products on the global market, he said.
Local currency taka is still stronger against the dollar compared with currencies of other competing countries.
According to the EPB data, exports of leather and leather products in the July-January period of FY17 grew by 12.18 per cent to $743.77 million compared with that of $663.02 million in the same period of FY16.
Export earnings from leather-footwear exports increased by 13.07 per cent to $335.86 million while leather products fetched $243.21 million with 19.17 per cent growth in the July-January period.
Export earnings from jute and jute goods increased by 14.05 per cent in the seven months of FY17 to $563.98 million from $494.52 million in the same period of FY16.
Export of agriculture products grew by 1.91 per cent to $345.79 million from $302.36 million and earnings from home textile export grew by 1.42 per cent to $427.21 million from $421.22 million.
The EPB data showed that export earnings from France in the July-January period of FY17 grew by 9.32 per cent to $1.11 billion from $1.01 billion in the same period of FY16.
Export to Spain in the seven months of FY17 grew by 4.60 per cent to $1.14 billion from $1.09 billion in the same period of FY16.
Among the non-traditional markets, China is providing Bangladesh an export boom in this fiscal year.
Export earnings from China grew by 34.04 per cent to $560.38 million in the July-January period of FY17 from $418.05 million in the same period of FY16.

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