Exports grew 2.69 percent year-on-year to $3.03 billion in April riding mainly on the higher shipment of apparel items, official data showed yesterday.
Last month’s receipts, however, fell short of the government’s monthly target of $3.08 billion by 1.52 percent.
The overall export of merchandise from Bangladesh also showed a positive trend between July and April, the first 10 months of the current fiscal year.
During the period, export earnings were $33.93 billion, up 11.61 percent year-on-year, data from the Export Promotion Bureau showed.
Readymade garments accounted for 84 percent of the exports: between July and April, garment shipments grew 12.59 percent year-on-year to $28.50 billion.
Of the receipts from the garment sector, $14.08 billion came from knitwear and $14.40 billion from woven, registering 12.32 percent and 12.85 percent year-on-year growth respectively.
Asif Ibrahim, a director of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said although the increase in April seems higher, the growth in apparel exports is only 2.76 percent.
The entrepreneur said, since the implementation of the revised minimum wage, 13 factories have been closed and another 70 factories will also face the same fate.
“At the same time, orders have been diverted to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Pakistan because of their competitive currency advantage.”
Ibrahim, however, says even if the low growth of April is used as a benchmark, the expected growth in the sector may be 10.92 percent in 2018-19.
Apart from apparel, some other sectors performed well between July and April.
Shipment of frozen and live fish like shrimp and crabs grew 2.65 percent to $446.48 million and that of agricultural products such as tea, vegetables, fruits, spices, dry food and tobacco rose 45.61 percent to $790.9 million.
Pharmaceuticals, cement, salt and ores, petroleum byproducts, plastic goods, ceramics, handicrafts, cotton and cotton products (yarn and wastes of fabrics), carpet, terry towel, footwear, wigs, and furniture fared well during the 10-month period.
However, leather and leather goods and jute and jute goods continued their poor show.
Between July and April, leather and leather goods fetched $837.07 million, an 8.69 percent drop year-on-year.
Leather and leather goods have been performing poorly as many tanneries that have shifted to the leather estate in Savar have not started full production yet. The leather and leather goods sector is the only segment that had crossed the $1-billion export mark after the garment sector.
The sector’s earnings may still go past the mark at the end of the fiscal year.
Exports of jute and jute goods, another important foreign currency earner, fell 21.83 percent year-on-year to $695.52 million between July and April.
The sector’s earnings have been declining mainly because of higher use of jute goods like sacks in the domestic market and the anti-dumping duty slapped on it by India.
Home textiles, building materials, ships and bicycles also performed poorly.