Exports grow at sharpest pace in five years
Merchandise exports posted a whopping 38.09 per cent year-on-year growth in August to bring home $4.67 billion, handing more breathing room to Bangladesh struggling to bring its macroeconomy under control, official figures showed yesterday.
This was the sharpest pace of growth in the last five years, according to the provisional data from the Export Promotion Bureau.
Last month's receipts were one of the highest in the country's history and made a strong rebound from July when exporters fetched $3.98 billion.
Bangladesh recorded the highest-ever single-month earning in June when shipment netted $4.908 billion.
Earnings totalled $8.59 billion in July and August, the first two months of the current fiscal year, registering a 25.31 per cent year-on-year growth.
Tapan Kanti Ghosh, senior secretary of the commerce ministry, said: "The export performance is very encouraging as everyone was apprehensive considering the high inflation in the US and the EU."
"There was also news of some orders put on hold. We hope that the export will continue its growth."
Md Fazlul Hoque, managing director of Plummy Fashions Ltd, a Narayanganj-based garment manufacturer, attributed the export growth to the higher shipment of goods meant for Christmas.
"Usually, the last part of Christmas shipments is sent to US and the European markets from Bangladesh in August."
The entrepreneur is, however, cautiously optimistic about the near future outlook of the garment shipment as the world is going through a volatile situation because of the Russia-Ukraine war, the higher inflationary pressure, and the threat of recession.
Inflation in the eurozone reached a record high of 8.9 per cent in July, led by costlier energy as the fallout from the war continues to hammer the economies in the trade bloc, while it stood for 8.5 per cent for the US, a slight improvement from June's 9.1 per cent, which was a 40-year high. They are the two largest markets for Bangladeshi exporters.
Mohammad Hatem, executive president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, says clearing of arrears by international retailers and brands contributed to the higher receipts last month.
"Earnings will grow up to October as exporters will keep sending Christmas shipments."
AK Azad, chairman and chief executive officer of Ha-Meem Group, one of the top garment exporters, says garment exporters have received 30 per cent more orders since last September because of the recovery of the global supply chain from the severe fallout of Covid-19.
He, however, warns that the garment shipment growth may not continue its current pace from October since there is a slowdown in sales of apparel items because of the higher inflationary pressure globally.
Major international retailers and brands have reduced sourcing because of the stockpiling of unsold goods, exporters say.
Recently, Walmart, Target, Kohl's, all major buyers of garment items from Bangladesh, announced plans of canceling orders to deal with the inventory glut amid decreasing global demand for apparel, which accounts for about 85 per cent of the country's overseas earnings.