The country’s export earnings in the first half (July-December) of the current financial year 2019-20 fell by 5.84 per cent although the earnings in December increased slightly after the previous four months’ fall.
The export earnings in July-December of FY20 declined to $19.30 billion from $20.50 billion in the same period of FY19, according to the Export Promotion Bureau data released on Sunday.
Experts and exporters said that although the export earnings achieved a positive growth in December this fiscal, the issue of the erosion of competitiveness of readymade garment sector remained and the country might not able to achieve expected growth in FY20.
‘Losing export competitiveness remains a big question for the country although the earnings achieved a minimal growth in December,’ Policy Research Institute executive director Ahsan H Mansur told New Age on Sunday.
He said that export earnings grew slightly in December due to recovery of the world economy as the United States and China agreed to reach a consensus over the tariff-related issues.
‘Most probably, Bangladesh’s export would increase slowly in the coming months but it would not be able to achieve required growth in FY20,’ Mansur said.
The export earnings in December of FY20, however, increased to $3.52 billion from $3.42 billion in the same month of FY19, the data showed.
The earnings fell by 11.49 per cent in August, 7.30 per cent in September, 17.19 per cent in October and 10.70 per cent in November of FY20.
The EPB data showed that the earnings from the RMG exports in July-December of FY20 fell by 6.21 per cent to $16.02 billion from $17.08 billion in the same period of FY19.
Rubana Huq, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said that the export growth in December was nominal compared to that in the same month of the previous year.
‘In July-December, in total we had a jump of almost $3 billion in FY18 and FY19 with the growth of 14.77 per cent and 15.65 per cent respectively. Compared to that the export in July–December of FY20 witnessed a 6.21-per cent negative growth,’ she said.
Thus, just an increase in December does not signify the trend of the sector ‘turning around’ as such, Rubana said.
Terming December and January as peak months, the BGMEA president said that the RMG export in the first two weeks of December remained negative while it picked up slightly in the second half.
‘We are losing competitiveness and won’t be able to sustain the general expectation of riding on high tides lest we have policy support,’ Rubana said.
According to the EPB data, the export earnings from woven garments fell by 7.28 per cent to $7.81 billion in July-December of FY20 from $8.43 billion in the same period of last fiscal year.
The earnings from knitwear export in the first half decreased by 5.16 per cent to $8.20 billion from $8.65 billion in the same period of last fiscal year.
The export earnings from leather and leather goods in July-December of FY20 fell by 10.61 per cent to $475.83 million from $532.3 million in the same period of last fiscal year.
The earnings from leather-footwear exports in the six months of FY20 fell by 12.69 per cent to $284.33 million while other leather products fetched $125.70 million with an 8.30-per cent growth in the period.
The export earnings from jute and jute goods in July-December of FY20 grew by 21.55 per cent to $511.73 million from $421.02 million in the same period of FY19.
The export earnings from home textile declined by 9.50 per cent to $370.10 million from $408.94 million.
The earnings from agricultural products grew by 1.21 per cent to $523.90 million from $517.64 million.
The frozen and live fish export revenue decreased by 7.70 per cent to $290.50 million while the earnings from shrimp export fell by 3.27 per cent to $217.20 million in the first half of FY20.
Export of engineering products in the six months of FY20 fell by 2.35 per cent to $168.04 million from $172.08 million in the same period of last fiscal year.
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