Bangladesh RMG exports dip by $6.3b in FY20 on pandemic

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:33, Jul 01,2020 | Updated: 17:54, Jul 02,2020


A file photo shows a readymade garment worker sewing clothes at a factory on the outskirts of Dhaka. — New Age photo

The country’s readymade garment exports in the just concluded financial year 2019-20 declined by 18.45 per cent, or $6.3 billion, to $27.83 billion from $34.13 billion in FY 2018-19 as the global outbreak of coronavirus disrupted business across the world.

Although the export earnings witnessed a negative growth in June, the last month of FY20, the export performance in the month was slightly better compared with that in the previous three months.

According to the provisional data prepared by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association compiling statistics from the National Board of Revenue, the RMG export in June this year declined by 11.43 per cent to $2.12 billion from $2.39 billion in the same month of 2019.

Experts and exporters said that the export earnings increased in June but it was difficult to predict the scenario of the coming months as the pandemic cut the demand for apparel products on the global market.

They said that the July-September period was a lean period for the industry and exporters would have to wait to see the impact of the season.

The earnings from RMG exports declined by 62 per cent in May and 85 per cent in April this year as the pandemic disrupted the global supply chain.

RMG exports improved in June as the global market started to recover slowly but it is difficult to say whether the trend would remain the same in July, Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh executive director Ahsan H Mansur told New Age on Wednesday.

He said that exports increased in June due to post-Eid bump as the shipment was lower in May due to the Eid-ul-Fitr vacation.

Ahsan said that exports would recover slowly as the western countries started reopening their economies but there was a fear of a second wave of the pandemic.

‘I hope exports will pick up but Bangladesh may not be able to utilise more than 70-75 per cent of its capacity as the nature of orders will be changed and the demand will also go down,’ he said.

Rubana Huq, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said that the 8.5-per cent export dip on a year-on-year basis was a reflection of the reality.

‘July-September is a relatively lean period for the industry and we will wait to see the impact as orders are coming in to the tune of 40-45 per cent compared to the usual flow,’ she said.

Rubana said that full recovery might take as late as the middle of 2021. 

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