Bangladesh apparel exports to major markets fall in July-Dec

Staff Correspondent | Updated at 07:49pm on January 20, 2021

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A file photo shows workers sewing clothes at a readymade garment factory on the outskirts of Dhaka. Bangladesh’s readymade garment exports to its major markets declined in the July-December period of the financial year 2020-21 as global demand remained slow amid the coronavirus outbreak.— New Age photo

Bangladesh’s readymade garment exports to its major markets declined in the July-December period of the financial year 2020-21 as global demand remained slow amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Among its top 10 destinations, Bangladesh’s RMG exports witnessed negative growth in seven countries in the first half of FY21, according to data of the Export Promotion Bureau.

Apparel exports to Germany, the Netherlands and Poland, however, achieved moderate growth amid the outbreak in the period, the data showed.

Exporters said that RMG export to most of the major destinations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and France, witnessed negative growth in July-December of FY21 as the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak had once again brought economic activities close to a standstill in the countries. 

They also said that exports to very few countries, including Germany which is the second largest destination for Bangladeshi exports, increased in the first half of the current fiscal year as they reshipped the goods to other countries.

Positive growth in some countries does not prove that consumption has increased in those countries but rather shows that they have shifted their sourcing from other countries to Bangladesh due to low price of the products, one of the exporters said.

The country’s apparel exports to the US, the largest export market for Bangladesh, in July-December of FY21 declined by 2.56 per cent to $2.90 billion from $2.98 billion in the same period of FY20.

RMG exports to Germany in the first half of FY21 grew by 3.75 per cent to $2.75 billion from $2.65 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year, the data showed.

‘The export to Germany cannot be generalised as the consumption of Germany’s local market only, since it is believed that a significant part of the goods exported to Germany is being transhipped to other EU countries,’ Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Rubana Huq told New Age.

She said that Germany, being the second largest market for Bangladesh’s apparels, contributed significantly to keep the countries woven sector alive and Bangladesh’s export growth to the destination went negative only in October during the last six months.

According to the BGMEA president, Germany’s imports have gone down from China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Indonesia in recent months while its imports have increased from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan and Turkey.

RMG exports to the UK, the third highest export destination for Bangladesh, fell by 4.15 per cent to $1.77 billion in July-December of FY21 from $1.85 billion in the same period of FY20.

Apparel exports to France in the first half of FY21 declined by 3.97 per cent to $875.54 million from $911.74 million while export to Spain in the period fell by 8.84 per cent to $1.11 billion, the data showed.

RMG exports to the Netherlands in the July-December period of FY21, however, increased by 8.34 per cent to $538.67 million from $497.20 million in the same period of FY20.

The country’s RMG export earnings from Poland in the first half of FY21 grew by 11.05 per cent to $649.36 million from $584.74 million in the same period of the previous fiscal.

RMG exports to Italy in the period declined by 10.98 per cent to $608.95 million while exports to Canada fell by 2.23 per cent to $487.02 million, the EPB data showed.

Bangladesh’s apparel exports to Japan in the July-December period of FY21 declined by 15.88 per cent to $445.18 million from $529.23 million in the same period of FY20.