Garment export to Europe on upturn

Euro appreciation, order shift from China, buyers' confidence pay off

| Updated: October 24, 2017 01:28:14

FE file photo FE file photo

Apparel exports to major European markets rose significantly during the first two months of the current fiscal, according to data, in a turnaround from a past crisis.

Exporters and experts attributed the upturn to the strong euro against the US dollar, order shift from China and restoration of buyers' confidence in Bangladesh following the ongoing safety and compliance initiatives.

Export earnings from Germany, the country's largest export destination in the EU, grew by 9.72 per cent to $992.39 million during the July-August period of the fiscal year 2017-18. The previous mark was $904.46 million, according to official data with the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

The country received $733.78 million from the UK, recording a 29.38 per cent growth, during the period compared to $567.17 million of corresponding period of last fiscal.

Apparel exports grew by over 41 per cent to the Netherlands to 178.80 million during the first two months under review.

The growth in export earnings from Spain was recorded 26.22 per cent with shipments accounting for $439.99 million during the period, according to the EPB count.

France imported apparel products worth $289.70 million from Bangladesh, 10.43 per cent higher than the earnings in the corresponding period of last fiscal.

The country's exports fetched $250.32 million from Italy during the July-August period with a 25.79 per cent growth over the corresponding period.

Garment exports to the USA and Canada, two other major traditional markets, also grew by 10.23 per cent and 20.96 per cent respectively.

"Our capacity comes to a stable situation following the remediation work in the country's garment sector, which also has helped in bringing back the buyers' confidence," Abdus Salam Murshedy, former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told the FE.

After the Rana Plaza building collapse, many of the buyers stopped placing orders to units located at rented buildings or those that accommodate other establishments, he mentioned.

Now flaw-fixing work is going on and where such remediation is not possible, they are relocating, he said.

Terming the RMG growth 'encouraging' Mahmud Hassan Khan, vice- president of BGMEA, said it would not be wise enough to make any comment on the performance based on only two months' data.

"Despite a declining trend in apparel products' prices on the global market, the recent export data showed that the volumes of exports had increased in the major markets," he noted.

Exchange rate might have a positive impact on the country's apparel- export earnings in the EU countries as currencies have appreciated against the US dollar in many of the EU countries, including the UK, Germany and Spain, said Khondaker Golam Moazzem, research director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

Terming the growth positive, he said the two months' data do not reflect the real picture, as to whether it would continue or not in the coming months.

He also suggested scrutinizing whether Bangladesh can take the advantage of order shift from China as taken by Vietnam and other competitor countries.

About 63.06 per cent of the country's total $28.14 billion worth of readymade garment exports went to the EU in the last fiscal year, according to data.

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