Bangladesh’s merchandise shipments rise in August

Merchandise shipments from Bangladesh saw a modest increase in August, rising by 3.80% to $4.78 billion, driven mainly by apparel exports.

However, several key sectors, including leather and leather goods, jute and jute goods, and home textiles, which earned over $1 billion in the previous fiscal year, faced significant challenges.

The challenging global economic situation, influenced by the ongoing pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war fallout, impacted these sectors negatively. 

Despite decreasing inflation in major export destinations like Europe and North America, high bank interest rates have kept consumers cautious about spending.

As a result, the shipment of goods such as apparel and footwear may not experience robust growth this year, especially leading up to Christmas. Nevertheless, Bangladesh has fared relatively well compared to other global supply chain suppliers amidst these economic uncertainties.

China, for example, experienced a third consecutive month of declining exports in July, with a substantial year-on-year drop of 14.5% in dollar terms.

In August, Bangladesh’s merchandise earnings fell 1.81% short of the monthly target set by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), totalling $4.78 billion, compared to $4.60 billion in August of the previous year.

In the July-August period, exports grew by 9.12% year-on-year to reach $9.37 billion. 

The export of garments in August 2023 grew by 7.99% to $4.04 billion, surpassing many other countries. Notably, Bangladesh performed better in new and emerging markets than in traditional markets like the US, EU, UK, and Canada.

In the July-August period, apparel shipments, contributing more than 85% of national exports, grew by 12.46% year-on-year to $7.99 billion.

Knitwear shipments registered significant growth at 17.02% year-on-year, earning $4.58 billion, while woven garments shipments increased by 6.86% year-on-year, totalling $3.41 billion.

Other major sectors, such as leather and leather goods and jute and jute goods, faced difficulties. Leather and leather goods shipments fell by 12.73% year-on-year to $194.82 million, partly due to the ongoing recession in Europe.

Shipments of jute and jute goods declined by 10.31% year-on-year to $140.46 million in the July-August period. 

Exporters face challenges, including government incentives with associated taxes and discouraging Indian anti-dumping duties.

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