Bangladesh’s export earnings in the July-February period of the current financial year fell by 1.45 per cent to $25.86 billion from $26.24 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year as the global economic activities remained slow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Export earnings in February 2021 declined by 3.92 per cent year-on-year to $3.19 billion from $3.32 billion in the same month of 2020, according to the Export Promotion Bureau data released on Wednesday.
Exporters said the negative growth in export earnings would continue for a few more months as the second wave of the pandemic shrank demand for readymade garment products in the European countries and the United States.
‘Given the backdrop of the faltering progress from COVID and impact on global business, the distressed situation may prevail for more months till demand at retail end starts responding positively,’ Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Rubana Huq told New Age on Wednesday.
She said that the price fall issue was another major challenge the industry was facing due to recessed orders.
‘An interim policy measure is required to support the industry to survive till the market shows silver linings,’ the BGMEA president said.
According to the EPB data, the RMG exports in the eight months of FY21 fell by 3.73 per cent to $21.03 billion from $21.84 billion in the same period of FY20.
Export earnings from woven garments fell by 11.49 per cent to $9.69 billion in July-February of FY21 from $10.94 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Earnings from knitwear exports in the eight months of FY21, however, increased by 4.06 per cent to $11.34 billion from $10.89 billion in the same period of FY20.
Woven garment export growth declined for the 19th consecutive month in February due to a slowdown in demand in the time of lockdowns in major markets, Rubana said.
Although the country witnessed a negative growth in RMG export, the knitwear subsector registered a positive growth for the last few months as western consumers bought clothes only for home use and more than 80 per cent of knitwear products are used as home wear dresses, said Md Fazlul Hoque, managing director of Plummy Fashions Ltd.
‘Considering the pandemic situation, buyers are looking for sourcing destinations with short lead-time and Bangladesh has become the attractive destination for knitwear products with short lead-time,’ he said.
Fazlul, also a former president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said that buyers were not considering Bangladesh as an attractive destination for woven products due to a long lead-time as the subsector largely depends on imported raw materials.
Export earnings from home textiles increased by 38.92 per cent to $730.82 million in the eight months of FY21 from $526.08 million in the same period of FY20, the EPB data showed.
Export earnings from leather and leather goods in July-February of FY21 fell by 4.15 per cent to $605.67 million from $631.89 million in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Earnings from leather-footwear exports in the eight months of FY21 grew by 0.20 per cent to $377.34 million from $353.38 million while other leather products fetched $154.94 million with a 9.42-per cent negative growth in the period.
Export earnings from jute and jute goods in July-February of FY21 grew by 23.67 per cent to $862.74 million from $697.63 million in the same period of FY20.
Earnings from agricultural products fell by 0.40 per cent to $664.67 million from $667.36 million.
Exports of engineering products in the eight months of FY21 grew by 57.64 per cent to $342.44 million from $217.23 million in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Export earnings from frozen and live fish decreased by 10.28 per cent to $338.01 million and the earnings from shrimp export fell by 18.31 per cent to $224.61 million in the eight months of FY21.