Omicron worries apparel exporters

03 December 2021

Al Amin :
The country's apparel producers are worried over slowed retail recovery in major destinations, despite extraordinary export earnings in the last few months.
They would not be complacent, although the entrepreneurs are gaining confidence from the export performance, the sector insiders said.
The latest export data published by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) showed that the readymade garments export growth was 22.9 per cent in July-November of FY2021-22, compared to the same period of the last fiscal year.
The RMG export has increased by 32.34 per cent only in November. Of which, 33.05 percent in knitwear sector and 31.48 per cent in woven sector, the data said.
Though the growth trend in past three months looks promising, it may be a short-lived phenomenon as the consumption and demand for clothing has seen extraordinary surge in recent few months, the entrepreneurs said.
"If we look at the last month's export value, it shows that we exported $3.24 billion in spite of having a 32 per cent growth in November, 2021. It means the export in the last month was comparatively less as we exported $2.44 billion in November, 2020," said Mohiuddin Rubel, Director of the BGMEA.
"On the other hand, the export earning was $3.5 billion in October but it came down to $3.2 billion in November. Though, we don't usually compare the export performance between consecutive months of the same year," he said.
It also needs to be taken into consideration that the price of the raw materials including textile, dyes and chemicals has gone up and the freight cost has reached at record high.
So obviously export value accommodates the inflation of input cost, so the growth in export is rather nominal, not absolute, Rubel said.
However, looking at the bigger picture, it seems that the recovery from the pandemic is yet to see a solid progress in major export destinations.
"The new variants are emerging and the global economy is witnessing immediate shocks. Buyers, who are following a cautious step since the first wave of the pandemic, will certainly be more cautious now," the BGMEA leader said.
"Particularly Europe will take more time to recover from the retail industry slowdown, which is worrying for us. If an upcoming Christmas sale is affected, this will has adverse impact in coming months," Rubel said.
"So, the entrepreneurs of the industry should be extra careful before making any aggressive business decision at this moment by just looking at the stronger trend in growth, because the situation is fluid now," he suggested.

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