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Bangladesh exports rise in July on expanding garment sales

August 13, 2012

An employee at a yarn mill — File Photo
An employee at a yarn mill — File Photo

DHAKA: Bangladesh's exports, ending a four-month streak of declines, rose 4.3 per cent in July from a year, official data showed on Monday, as garment orders from new markets appeared to offset declining shipments to Europe.

During the month, exports of ready-made garments totalled $1.99 billion, which was 5.2 per cent more than a year earlier.

Garments accounted for 82 per cent of Bangladesh's $2.44 billion in exports in July.

The statistics did not give a breakdown on where garment exports went.

Mohammad Shafiul Islam, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said the country has been making gains in developing new markets such as Brazil, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa and India.

“We are trying to explore new markets to make up slack demand from recession-hit Western buyers,” said Islam, whose association represents Bangladesh's 4,500 garment factories.

In recent years, Bangladesh's economy and exports have been boosted by a dramatic shift in global garment orders from China to lower-cost Bangladesh. Europe and the United States account for almost 70 per cent of Bangladesh's garment exports.

For the financial year that ended on June 30, garment rose 6.6 per cent to $19 billion. Total exports for the latest fiscal year rose 5.9 per cent to $24.3 billion, falling short of a government's target of $26.5 billion as demand for garments from key Western markets waned.

The government has set an export target of $28 billion for the fiscal year that began on July 1.

Bangladesh's low labour costs have helped it join the global supply chain for low-end clothing, manufacturing garments for international brands such as Tesco, JC Penney , Wal-Mart, H&M, Kohl's, Marks & Spencer and Carrefour.