Bangladesh’s overall merchandise export earnings have registered $40.53 billion earning in FY 2019 with 10.55% growth over last year, riding mainly on apparel exports, according to the provisional data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). In the last 21017-18 fiscal year, Bangladesh exported goods worth $36.66 billion.
The amount of export earnings in FY19 was $1.53 billion higher than the government-set target of $39 billion for the financial year, according to the provisional data of Export Promotion Bureau.
Exporters have given credit to safety and compliance upgradation in the apparel industry, in helping to boost buyer’s confidence on sourcing more clothing from the country. On the other hand, economists have opined the US-China trade war, and good performance of apparel exports in non-traditional markets acted as a catalyst for the rise in apparel export.
Readymade garment (RMG) sector has contributed 84.21%, or $34.13 billion to the total export receipts. The sector posted 11.49% growth over last fiscal year, bagging $30.61 billion from apparel items. Apparel sector exceeded the export target by 4.42%, as the estimated earnings from RMG were set at $32.68 billion for 2018-19 fiscal year. Of the $34.13 billion, Knitwear products fetched $16.88 billion, which is 11.19% higher than last fiscal year. Woven items earned $17.24 billion, registering an 11.79% growth.
Safety improvement and compliance in RMG sector were one of the many reasons behind this double digit growth in export. Macinery upgradation of sector to ensure product quality, and ability to produce value added goods also played key role behind the growth of the RMG sector. On top of that, manufacturers mobilized for new market explorations, and product diversification, which altogether pushed the export earnings up.
However, economists have said the US-China tariff war opened an opportunity for Bangladesh as the global buyers shifted orders from China to Bangladesh to remain on the safe side.
US economy was better in the last year, which also helped the country to export more. Beyond this, export performance to non-traditional export destinations including China, Japan, and India were better. Economists also expressed that, Bangladesh may get some more perks from the trade war In the coming days.
Among other major sectors, agricultural products have posted a sharp rise, making a 27.84% growth to $909 million during the period, which was $674 million in the same period last year. Among the agricultural products, vegetable earned $100 million, tobacco $63.33 million, and dry food $227 million.
In addition, export earnings from the pharmaceuticals sector rose by 25.60% to $130 million, and plastic goods by 21.65% to $120 million, according to the EPB data. Specialized textile sector saw a 28.51% growth to $144 million, while non-leather footwear exports rose by 11.24% to $271.53 million. Export earnings from furniture, a newly emerging export item, posted 18.53% rise to $75 million, which was $63 million in fiscal year 2018.
However, export earnings from leather and leather goods, the second largest foreign currency earner, witnessed a 6.06% negative growth down to $1.01 billion, which was $1.08 billion last fiscal year. Jute and jute goods, the third largest export earning sector, also registered a 20.41% negative growth lowering to $816.27 million.
Exports of frozen and live fish registered a marginally negative growth by 1.58%, and earned $500.40 million, which was $508.43 million in the previous year. Besides, home textile sector has seen a negative growth by 3.07% to $851.72 million, which was $878.68 million a year earlier.
Industry people have termed the growth rate satisfactory but they are worried about making it sustainable in the new fiscal year. Value addition and high-end products will be much required in coming years for which every sector needs to investment on research and innovation.
Meanwhile, economists have suggested for attracting foreign investment in tech-based manufacturing sector. They also called for grabbing orders, which are being relocated from china.