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RMG exports drop 62pc to $1.06b in May

June-Dec exports might fall 30pc

Monira Munni | June 01, 2020 00:00:00

The country's ready-made garment (RMG) exports in May 2020 declined by 62 per cent to US$ 1.06 billion over the earnings of the corresponding month in last calendar year.

Export earnings from the apparel sector were $2.81 billion in May 2019.

Also, export receipts from RMG products registered over 85 per cent fall to $374.67 million in this April from that of $2.53 billion in April 2019, according to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

The country fetched $2.25 billion from RMG export in this March, marking a 20 per cent negative growth over the earnings of $2.85 billion in March 2019.

The BGMEA made the disclosures, citing the National Board of Revenue (NBR) data from May 01 to 29.

During the last three months, from March to May, apparel exports recorded 54.79 per cent decline over the corresponding period of 2019.

When asked, BGMEA President Dr Rubana Huq said Covid-19 has changed the face of global business, taking it to a point of uncertainty.

"But while we face challenges, we look forward to new opportunities to fight the battle, sustain and win."

Explaining the reality, she said export dipped by 62 per cent in May, while it declined by 14 per cent during July-April period of current fiscal year, which is the lowest in last five years.

All export markets experienced fall, ranging from 8.0 per cent to 22 per cent.

Besides, the US import from Vietnam increased by up to 7.0 per cent, while its import from China fell by 52 per cent, and from Bangladesh by 2.0 per cent.

The unit price of apparel fell by 0.90 per cent in the US market and 1.87 per cent in the EU, the BGMEA president pointed out.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the local factories faced cancellation and holding off of work orders amounting to $499 million from the US and $1.55 billion from the EU.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic will wipe off $297 billion from global apparel value in 2020.

She projected that Bangladesh's export might decline by 30 per cent in the coming months from June to December.

When asked, Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, a director of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said most factories were closed in April, and gradually reopened from April 26.

But factories could not use their full capacity, as they opened partially with fewer workforces due to spread of the coronavirus outbreak. So, the units could not ready their goods for export.

Moreover, the buyers were not receiving ready goods, as they also started reopening gradually.

He expected that the growth trend might be the same in June, and might be better in July and August.

"But the growth in September and onwards would decline. We usually have work orders for summer season in September and October, whereas this time the buyers would have huge stock and might not place many orders," he explained.

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