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Export earnings rise by a quarter in July

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FT ONLINE

A strong performance from the ready-made garment (RMG) sector boosted Bangladesh’s overall export earnings by 27% in July to $3.21 billion, data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) has revealed.

The RMG sector, the lifeline of export earnings, rose 17% on the same period a year ago to $2.48 billion. Knitwear products and woven products both posted 17% increases to $1.26bn and $1.21bn respectively.

Home textiles was a star performer, rising by 60% to $60.77 million. Frozen foods and live fish also saw a sharp rise of 57% to $104.87m.

However, earnings from jute and jute goods declined by 7.51% to $64.53m, while the overall earnings for July fell just short of the target of $3.24bn set for the month.

After a sluggish export growth in the last fiscal year, sector people welcomed the sharp rise in the first month of the new fiscal year and urged the government to continue its support including on-time delivery at the country’s sea and air ports.

Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Senior Vice-President Faruque Hassan attributed the positive monthly data for July to the  clearing of backlogs from the Eid-ul-Fitr and Ramadan vacations in June.

Export earnings rise by a quarter in July

“Since congestion (at Chittagong port) eased and goods were delivered in July, export earnings reflected a sharp rise,” Faruque said.

“In maintaining the growth rate, the government should ensure that there should be no congestion at Chittagong port.”

Faruque warned that the rates of growth seen in July will not continue in August and September as there are less work orders compared to the previous months.

“It is most important to provide utility services to new factories as well as relocated RMG units, or else it would hit the production capacity hard,” he said.

In the just-concluded 2016-17 fiscal year, Bangladesh’s export earnings from the apparel industry saw only a 0.20% rise to $28.15 billion, the lowest figure for 15 years for the key foreign currency earner.

However, Bangladesh’s overall export earnings stood at $34.83 billion in the last fiscal year, which is 1.68% higher than the $34.25 billion of a year ago.

-SAM

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