The Financial Express
Swasti Lankabangla Swasti Lankabangla

Exports turn the corner

EPB, NBR data show mismatches

| Updated: September 06, 2020 10:23:48

A partial view of Chittagong Port seen in this undated photo A partial view of Chittagong Port seen in this undated photo

The country's merchandise shipments during the first two months of fiscal year 2020-21 grew by 2.17 per cent to US$6.87 billion over that of the same period last fiscal.

The July-August earnings also surpassed the target set for the period by 1.0 per cent, according to provisional data of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

Bangladesh fetched US$6.73 billion in July-August period of FY 2019-20.

The single month income in August'20 grew by 4.32 per cent to US$2.96 billion, which was US$2.84 billion in August'19, the provisional data showed.

The August'20 earnings, however, fell short of the target by 11.72 per cent.

The export recovery has started since June and continued in July.

The year-on-year July earnings grew by 0.59 per cent to US$3.91 billion after a continuous fall in shipments in the previous months of current calendar year amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Exporters attributed the gradual reopening of western markets to the positive trend in shipments from Bangladesh.

New orders coupled with the revival of the orders suspended or cancelled earlier did also contributed to the turnaround, they added.

The ready-made garment sector that contributed over 83 per cent to the total exports fetched $5.71 billion export income during July-August period.

The RMG earnings, however, witnessed a minimal 0.06 per cent negative growth.

The sector's earnings exceeded the strategic target set for the month by 1.81 per cent.

The country earned $3.11 billion from knitwear exports, registering a positive growth of 6.64 per cent. Knitwear exports fetched $2.92 billion in July-August of last fiscal.

Earnings from export of woven garments, however, declined by 7.06 per cent to $2.59 billion during the first two months of this fiscal from $2.79 billion over the correspondent period of last fiscal, according to data.

Both knitwear export earnings surpassed the target set for the months by 12.29 per cent while woven missed the target by 8.44 per cent.

The statistics compiled by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) based on revenue board data, however, showed that RMG exports in August grew over 44 per cent, showing a huge discrepancy with the EPB's provisional data.

When asked, BGMEA president Dr Rubana Huq said if total export in August is $2,967 million, then RMG export should be $2,467 million.

"This is seriously contradicting the data of the NBR portal. The deviation between EPB and NBR is US$901 million, which is absurd." she said.

She, however, noted that either NBR's database has some issues, or the EPB's data is flawed. "As we examined NBR data, it shows product by product export and growth, question is manipulation at such a detailed level is not possible."

On the other hand, container handling data of the Chittagong port is also not supporting the NBR's huge growth, she said, adding they are really confused about the authenticity.

"But we have the data downloaded from the NBR in raw format to prove what we got from them," she added.

Besides, earnings from home textile exports grew by 43.87 per cent to $168.03 million. The figure exceeded the target by 5.38 per cent.

Meanwhile, the jute sector that demonstrated a positive growth throughout the last fiscal also maintained the uptrend.

The earnings from export of jute and jute goods increased by 49.64 per cent to $195.39 million during the period, up from $ 130.57 million over the corresponding period of last fiscal.

Agricultural products earnings grew by 32.64 per cent to $178.27 million during the first two months, the data showed.

Exports of frozen and live fish, however, decreased by over 10 per cent to $74.56 million.

Pharmaceuticals earnings stood at $27.26 million, marking an 18.94 per cent growth. Furniture earnings rose by 3.49 per cent to $10.37 million.

On the other hand, the country earned $154.74 million by exports of leather and leather goods in July'20, registering a 16.54 per cent decline compared to that of the last fiscal.

The sector's exports, however, surpassed the target set for the period by 1.26 per cent.

Plastic products witnessed negative growth of 17.44 per cent to $17.14 million during July-August period, according to the EPB data.


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