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December exports rise to record $5.37 billion

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Bangladesh’s exports rose 9.33 per cent year-on-year to a record high of $5.37 billion in December last year, surpassing the previous monthly peak in November.

The country exported goods worth $4.91 billion in December 2021.

The December receipts are still slightly behind the government’s $5.42 billion target set for the month, reports citing the data released by the Export Promotion Bureau on Monday.

The total exports in the first six months of the 2022-2023 fiscal year now stand at $27.31 billion, a 10.58 per cent increase year-on-year.

The garments industry, which leads exports in Bangladesh, fared well in December. Over the last six months, garment exports have increased 15.56 per cent to about $23 billion from a year earlier.

Knitwear accounted for $12.67 billion, growing 13.42 per cent, and woven garments accounted for $10.34 billion, an 18.29 per cent increase year-on-year.

The other significant exports in the first six months of the year included leather and leather goods, which fetched $637.2 million, growing 13 per cent year-on-year.

Exports of jute and jute products fell 17.65 per cent to $485.88 million in the July-December period from a year earlier. Agricultural exports also fell 23.26 per cent year-on-year to $501.91 million.

Experts had said that these three sectors combined could add over a billion dollars to Bangladesh’s coffers by the end of the year.

Many garment exporters have described the new level of exports as a “miracle”. Garment factory owners say they are seeing hope because exports hit highs in the past two months despite a slowdown in purchase orders from global retailers.

The record exports in December is hopeful news amid many worries, said Mohammad Hatem, executive president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

 “While our situation is not good, this is a positive sign,” he said. “Though the whole world is in a tumultuous situation, Bangladesh’s garment exports are giving hope. Bangladesh has never exported this much before. If exports increase, the country’s dollar crisis will ease too.”

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