Despite sluggish merchandise exports from Bangladesh in the outgoing year 2019, a United Nations (UN) body forecasts positive annual export growth for the country.
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) made the projections in its latest Asia-Pacific Trade in Goods Trends and Outlooks.
According to the ESCAP, exports from Bangladesh would rise by 9.10 per cent in value and 6.30 per cent in volume in 2019.
The outlook, released on Wednesday, also cited that goods imports to Bangladesh would increase by 5.80 per cent in value and 6.10 per cent in volume.
The ESCAP said only Vietnam would register higher growth in trade than Bangladesh.
Exports of Vietnam are anticipated to rise by 7.70 per cent and import by 9.40 per cent in volume.
The projected growth rates are, however, calculated on the basis of the 2010 constant prices.
The ESCAP report laid emphasis on the volume of trade rather than on the value and price though it mentioned all the three parameters.
Citing the shrinkage of the Asia-Pacific trade, it said trade is declining in both value and volume in the region for the first time since the 2009 global economic crisis.
The total export volume fell by 2.5 per cent and import by 3.5 per cent, the report revealed.
"In addition, an overall lower price level pushed trade value down further to record 3.60 per cent and 4.80 per cent contractions of exports and imports," it said.
In 2018 and 2019, the ESCAP said, trade performance in Asia and the Pacific followed the global trend, slowing down from the second half of 2018 onwards.
"As a result, the region maintained its global share in trade at 37.0 per cent and 35.0 per cent of total exports and imports respectively," it added.
The ESCAP outlook further said that in the outgoing year, China's exports dropped by 1.30 per cent and imports by 4.70 per cent in real terms.
"As a result, substantial adverse spill-over effects have spread through the region," it observed.
"However, nations such as Bangladesh, India and Vietnam challenged this trend, registering 4.0 per cent to 8.0 per cent export volume gains."
According to the Export Promotion Bureau statistics, exports of goods stood at $35.81 billion during the January-November period of 2019.
It was $35.82 billion in the same period last year.
Exports faced negative growth in the second half of 2019. Merchandise exports from July to November fell by 7.60 per cent over the same period of 2018.
Goods exports during the January-June period of this year increased by 6.85 per cent compared with the corresponding period of last year.
Meanwhile, the central bank statistics has showed a negative trend in merchandise imports so far.
During the January-October period of 2019, merchandise imports declined by 2.41 per cent to $49.44 billion from $50.67 billion during the same period of 2018.
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