Bangladesh's garment exports to major destinations suffered a devastating blow in April as factories put up the shutters while demand hit rock bottom because of the coronavirus pandemic worldwide.
Apparel shipment to the EU, Bangladesh's largest export market, was only $220 million in April, while the average monthly earnings usually stand at nearly 1.5 billion, according to data from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).
In July-April, Bangladesh exported garment items worth $15.06 billion to the EU, which is 14.61 per cent lower than that in the same period last fiscal year.
Garment export to the US, the country's single largest export destination, amounted to only $70 million in April, against the average monthly earnings of $500 million in the usual times, the BGMEA data shows.
In July-April, the amount stood at $4.44 billion, which is 12.64 per cent lower than the earnings in the same period last year.
Export also declined to the Canadian market: In April, Bangladesh exported garment items worth $9.5 million. During July-April the amount reached $746.35 million, a 21.64 per cent drop year-on-year.
"We foresee continued slowdown in exports till the end of this year," said BGMEA President Rubana Huq.
April and May have seen freefall in exports and based on the current discussions with the buyers, exporters would have to be skeptic in making a generalised prediction, she added.
"We may see exports plummeting by 30-40 per cent in upcoming months since retail markets are yet to pick up and the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour is still unknown."
The sector is still facing many uncertainties, she added.