Bangladesh’s apparel export earnings in the first month of the fiscal year saw the highest growth rate in a single month since August 2015. According to provisional data from the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), Bangladesh earned $3.01 bn in July, 21.72 per cent higher than the $2.47 bn earned in the same period last year. Of the total, knitwear products contributed $1.53 bn to national exports, while woven products contributed $1.50 bn. In the same period last year, knitwear earned $1.26 bn and woven products $1.21 bn. This amounts to 20.88 per cent growth in the export of knitwear, and 22.59 per cent growth in that of woven products.

In the last fiscal year, the apparel sector contributed $30.61 bn, or 83.49 per cent, to the country’s total exports of $36.66 bn. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Senior Vice President Faruque Hassan, also Managing Director of the Giant Group told, “The Eidul- Fitr vacations in June hindered production and shipment of goods. The pending shipments were sent out in July, which pushed export earnings up sharply.”

He added that improvements in safety standards and workers’ rights had raised buyers’ confidence in Bangladesh’s RMG sector, which a contributing factor to the growth in exports. According to the BGMEA leader, Bangladesh has plenty of opportunities in the global export market. The increase of duty on Chinese imports by India; the trade war between China and the US may both help exports from Bangladesh.

Hassan also said the upcoming declaration of a new wage structure, and the prices of gas may pose challenges in maintaining the growth rate in the future. In the last fiscal year, Bangladesh’s export earnings from the apparel sector registered 8.76 per cent growth, reaching $30.61 bn. However, Bangladesh’s overall export earnings rose by 5.8 per cent to $36.66 bn in FY17, as compared to $34.65 bn in FY16. In August 2015, export earnings from the RMG sector grew by 32.45 per cent, reaching $2.72 bn.