Export earnings drop by 1 pc in Dec

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Staff Reporter :
Earnings from merchandise shipments have declined by 1.06 per cent year-on-year to $5.3 billion in December of 2023, thanks to a slowdown in export of garment and few other major items.

December’s export figure was also 5.57 per cent lower than the monthly target of $5.62 billion, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) on Tuesday.

In the July-December period of the ongoing fiscal year, earnings from merchandise shipments marginally increased by 0.84 per cent year-on-year to $27.54 billion.

Apparel shipment rose slightly at 1.72 per cent year-on-year to $23.39 billion in the six-month period and it grew by 3.67 per cent year on year to $47.39 billion in last calendar year, the EPB data also showed.

During this year, the country’s total export earnings increased by 2 per cent, meaning that the growth is mostly contributed by the RMG export.

This growth in RMG export was solely contributed by the knitwear export which grew by 7.47 per cent, while woven export declined by 0.81 per cent.

The month-wise export performance for the year 2023 shows that the year started well with modest growth in January and February.

After having consecutive dips in March and April, the positive trend in growth was restored and maintained during May-September, and the export performance in the final quarter of the year went below the level of 2022.

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Though the year ended with a decline of 2.35 per cent in December, export in this single month was $4.56 billion. The decline in November and December happened primarily because of the unusually higher export in November and December 2022.

“The apparel export turnover in 2023 remains historic in a single year, and considering the global economic and geo-political crisis, I would say Bangladesh did fairly well,” said BGMEA Director Mohiuddin Rubel.

“However, imports of our major markets declined as most of the advanced economies are struggling due to high inflation and impact on consumers due to monetary policy measures taken to contain inflation,” he added.

“Since the growth curve of global clothing trade falters every year, we believe that that 2024 will be a year of turnaround since 2023 was a weaker year for this industry globally, and there are some indications that consumption and spending may rebound,” Rubel added.

He further said that there are certain challenges in the country’s economy.

Despite the challenges, I believe 2024 will bring a breath of fresh air in the apparel industry, he said.

“We do have new opportunities, which the industry is pursuing and exploring further. We need continued support and collaboration from all stakeholders including government, development partners and others,” Rubel, also Additional Managing Director of Denim Expert Ltd, said.