The country's merchandise exports declined by 61.57 per cent to US$ 1.46 billion in May this year than that of the same month last year due to shrinking global demand amid coronavirus pandemic.
The country fetched $ 3.81 billion through exporting goods in May 2019.
The monthly earnings in April and March this year were $ 520.01 million and $2.73 billion respectively.
The monthly export earnings during the current fiscal year showed a downtrend, excepting the July and December figures, according to the provisional data of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) published on its website on Monday.
In the first 11 months (July-May) of the fiscal year (FY) 2019-20, the overall export earnings fell by 17.99 per cent to $ 30.95 billion against $ 37.75 billion in the corresponding period of last FY.
The earnings also fell 25.5 per cent short of the period's target.
Exporters and experts attributed closure of factories, lockdown in major export destinations followed by slow demands, cancellation or holding up the orders due to the Covid-19 pandemic for the sharp fall in export performance.
Majority of the export-oriented factories, including readymade garments (RMG), remained closed since March 26 to April 25 due to the general holidays amid coronavirus pandemic and then were operating at half-capacity, they added.
The RMG sector fetched nearly $ 25.70 billion during July-May period of FY '20 against $ 31.73 billion during the same period a year earlier, registering 18.99 per cent negative growth. The earnings also fell short of the target set for the period by 26.31 per cent.
The export earnings from woven garments fell by 19.22 per cent to $ 12.96 billion during the period. Proceeds from knitwear exports fell by 18.74 per cent to nearly $ 12.74 billion, the EPB data showed.
The woven and knitwear exports fetched $ 16.05 billion and $ 15.68 billion respectively in July-May period of the last FY.
The export earnings from other key sectors also fell during the first 11 months of the current FY than that of the same period a year ago.
The EPB provisional data showed that earnings from home textile exports stood at $ 670.97 million, down by 16.22 per cent from $ 800.85 million. It fell short of the period's target by 17.55 per cent.
When asked, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association president Dr Rubana Huq said the fall in export earnings was expected as their business was anyway dipping because of many issues.
And now with the Covid-19, global sales revenue is predicted to dip up to 27-30 per cent and the Covid-19 would wipe off $ 297 billion from the global apparel value in 2020.
Bangladesh's export is also projected to decline to 30 per cent to $ 23.35 billion during June-December period, she informed the FE.
To help revive the growth, the sector needs government's policy supports, the BGMEA chief said. They need support to introduce virtual market place, a business to consumer platform like Bangladesh's own Amazon, she added.
Her other demands included exchange rate premium by Tk 5.0 per dollar (while purchasing documents) on the local value retention, special treatment for export to markets having high tariff, supporting research and development, trial production for new products, while opting for diversification like recycled yarn, PPEs, spare parts, automotive upholstery, fashion and hair accessories, travel and camping goods, plush toys.
The BGMEA chief also said that the government should provide concessional loan for relocation and factory infrastructure, special fund to develop SME cluster, funding-challenged factories and formulating an exit policy.
She stressed the need for urgent policy reforms for workers housing, accommodation in economic zones, subsidising food expenses through launching unemployment fund.
According to the EPB data, export earnings from leather and leather goods fell by 21.66 per cent to $ 739.39 million during the first eleven months of the current FY from $ 943.83 million of the corresponding period of the last FY.
Jute and jute goods exports, however, increased by 5.74 per cent to $ 817.97 million from $ 773.57 million.
The exports of pharmaceutical products slightly fell to $ 122.23 million from $ 122.99 million.
Agro-products like vegetables, fruits and spices fetched $ 780.16 million, 8.7 per cent down from $ 854.46 million.
Frozen and live fish exports fetched $ 426.58 million in July-May period of this fiscal, registering a negative growth of 9.92 per cent.
Exports from plastic also witnessed a negative growth of 19.49 per cent to $ 90.81 million during July-May period of FY 2019-20.
The exports of ceramic products during the period decreased 60.57 per cent to $ 26.33 million from $ 66.77 million.
The country brought in $ 40.53 billion by exporting goods during last fiscal - about $34.13 billion came from textiles and clothing sector alone.
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