Drop in export

Bangladesh suffered a significant export drop in July, contracting about 12 percent over the same month last year, an official said Sunday.

The Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) official who preferred to be unnamed told Xinhua that the country earned a total of 2,625.93 million U.S. dollars from exports in July, the first month of the current 2015-2016 (July 2015-June 2016) fiscal year, compared to 2, 982.74 million dollars in the same period a year earlier.

Ctg portOf total earnings, he said, Bangladesh’s income from garment items, including knitwear and woven stood at 2.215 billion dollars during July, Xinhua reported.

In the first month of the current 2015-2016 year, the EPB data showed, knitwear garment export dipped 13.80 percent to 1,137.27 million dollars while woven garments plunged 10.11 percent to 1, 187.79 million dollars, comparing with the same period of last fiscal year.

Following poor performance of the major ready-made garment export sector, the EPB data showed export income for the last month also fell short of target by about 9 percent.

As demand for main ready-made garment products continued to shrink amid internal and external odds, Bangladesh’s overall merchandise exports growth also slumped in July.

The EPB data showed that other major exportable items, like frozen foods, home textiles, jute, leather and leather products and footwear, also had also poor performance in July.

The EPB official said July’s negative trend was a reality as the garment sector has been struggling to face challenges due to a number of internal and external odds.

Officials attributed the fall in the exports to factors such as rise in labor wage, additional cost for compliance issue, higher transportation cost and slump in U.S. dollar and euro.

Apart from this, they said political violence, shutdowns and blockades in the first three months of this year caused widespread damages to business.

The World Bank in an updated report in April revealed that the country has suffered a financial loss of around 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in the first three months of this year due to political turmoil.

Political tension in Bangladesh heightened in January after ex- Prime Minister Khaleda Zia’s opposition alliance geared up anti- government programs, demanding fresh elections under a non-party caretaker government system.

Khaleda’s BNP and its allies have observed non-stop blockade across the country since Jan. 5 demanding fresh elections under a non-party caretaker government system.

On top of its blockade campaign, BNP and its 19 allies including key Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party have observed strikes at regular intervals. The three months’ violence left scores of people dead and hundreds injured.

The EPB official, however, expected recovery of the U.S. and euro economies and implementation of reform initiatives in the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) sector are likely to boost Bangladeshi garment exports in the near term.

European financial stability will boost Bangladesh’s efforts in achieving desired export growth in the coming months unless the South Asian country suffers a fresh blow from political unrest, he said.