Trade
11 days ago

Exports mark modest annualised growth, miss set targets

Bangladesh receives $5.10b in March, $43.55b in July-March

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Merchandise exports fetched Bangladesh US$5.10 billion in March in a 9.88-percent annualised growth but narrowly missed the month's target in sync with past nine-month trend.

Overall export trade of the country during the past nine months of the current fiscal year (FY) from July to March also marked a growth by 4.39 per cent to US$43.55 billion, but the earnings fell 5.86-percent short of the target set for the period, according to latest official data.

The March 2024 earnings slightly missed the target by 0.88 per cent.

The export receipts were worth US$4.64 billion in March 2023, according to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data published Tuesday.

And during the July-March period of FY 2022-23, Bangladesh earned US$41.72 billion, the EPB data showed.

As usual, apparel shipments overwhelmingly dominated the invoice in both cases because of lack of major breakthroughs in governmental emphasis on diversifying the export basket and market.

Out of the total March '24 earnings, readymade garment (RMG) earned US$4.34 billion, registering an 11.71-percent growth, for the third successive month after three consecutive months of negative growth since October 2023.

The apparel sector alone earned US$3.89 billion in March 2023.

Back in the July-March period of FY 2022-23, Bangladesh earned US$41.72 billion, the EPB data showed, accounting for 5.86-percent fall from the period's target.

During the July-March period of FY 2023-24, the RMG exports earned the country $37.20 billion-US$21.01 billion from knitwear and US$16.19 billion from woven garments-in a 5.53-percent growth, according to the EPB data.

On the downside, the home-textile subsector witnessed a decline of 25.98 per cent during the July-March period of FY '24, with earnings amounting to $636.53 million.

Asked about the trade performance, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan reiterated that 2023 was a challenging and difficult year for them as buyers placed less work orders as they sold from their piled-up inventory.

"Global market was slow while local shipments witnessed negative growth in major markets," he said. "But we could navigate as the buyers' stocks started decreasing at the end of last year, resulting in the rise of work orders."

The industry leader, however, calls on exporters to negotiate with their respective buyers for better pricing as he has noticed many of the exporters having received orders at lower prices to run their businesses amid a slump in orders.

For sustaining the pace in a latest rebound, he stressed the need for ensuring uninterrupted supply of energy.

Echoing the BGMEA leader, Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, vice president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), says work orders are coming to Bangladesh in recent months but are small in volume.

He opines that this might be changing strategy of buyers mainly to shorten lead time and hopes the growth might sustain for next two or three months.

"We currently have work orders for next couple of months as buyers are placing small-size orders," he told this FE correspondent, adding that they usually receive large volumes of work orders that enable to plan better.

According to the EPB data, exports of jute and jute goods during the period under review stood at $659.54 million, registering a fall of 5.6 per cent.

Earnings from agricultural items like vegetables, fruits and dry foods, however, registered a growth of 5.6 per cent to $715.84 million during the first nine months.

Export earnings from engineering products decreased by 2.77 per cent to $389.18 million during the July-March period while frozen and live fish exports decreased 13.66 per cent to $299.2 million.

Bangladesh received $794.19 million from the export of leather and leather goods in July-March, registering a negative growth of 13.65 per cent.

Pharmaceutical exports fetched $151.46 million, registering a 14.39- percent growth.

Exports of footwear other than leather items also increased 7.67 per cent to $385.73 million.

The EPB data also showed that exports of plastic products witnessed an 18.16-percent growth, reaching $182.8 million.

Bangladesh in the last fiscal year bagged a record-high $55.55 billion in earnings from merchandise exports, riding on a double-digit growth for readymade garments.

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