Export earnings bounced back in October thanks to higher shipment of garment items, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
Bangladesh fetched $2.71 billion from exports in October, which is 14.39 percent higher than the earnings in the same period a year ago and 2.84 percent higher than the monthly target.
Earnings from the garment exports have been rising mainly due to increased efficiency in productivity and increased volume of value-added garment items, said Siddiqur Rahman, president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
The actual price of garment items declined worldwide, which prompted Bangladeshi garment makers to start producing value-added items, Rahman said.
It is no longer true that Bangladesh only produces cheap basic T-shirts, he said.
A good number of garment makers have been producing high-end apparel items for upscale customers in the West, he added.
When the prices of items go down, garment makers try to make a profit by improving production efficiency, he said.
In July-October, garment exports grew 7.08 percent year-on-year to $8.82 billion, which is 7.25 percent lower than the periodic target of $9.51 billion, data showed.
The monthly garment export growth has to be around 12 percent or more to achieve the country's target of exporting $50 billion by 2021, he said.
“But the garment exports grew only 7 percent in October, which is much lower than our expectation.”
Rahman called for improved infrastructure, efficient port operations and an adequate supply of gas and power to the factories to raise growth.
International retailers are returning to Bangladesh, as normalcy has been restored after the July 1 attack at a cafe in Gulshan, he said. However, apparel prices are not going up, he added.
Export earnings also increased periodically. Total earnings increased 6.53 percent year-on-year to $10.79 billion in July-October.
However, the July-October earnings are 6.84 percent lower than the target of $11.58 billion for the period.
Leather and leather goods performed well in July-October, fetching $428.51 million, which is 19.45 percent higher than the same period last fiscal year.
The export of leather and leather goods surpassed the periodic target of $381.96 million by 12.19 percent.
Earnings from footwear exports increased 21.8 percent to $83.96 million in July-October. Export of frozen foods and live fishes rose 9.94 percent to $196.61 million.
Shipment of jute and jute goods also performed well during the period. In the four months, earnings from jute and jute goods were recorded at $296.26 million, which is 4.15 percent higher than that in the corresponding period last year.
However, the export of agricultural products declined 1.33 percent year-on-year to $169.03 million in the first four months of fiscal 2017, mainly because of floods in major vegetable producing districts.
Moreover, vegetable exports have also been affected by a ban on direct cargo flights from Dhaka to the UK, Germany and Australia.
Home textile exports fell 1.55 percent to $216.66 million and terry towel declined 26.94 percent to $12.04 million.