The country’s export earning growth in October hit the lowest in 14 months to 2.03 per cent. In August 2012, the earning had posted a negative 17.89 per cent growth.
Industry insiders have attributed the lower growth to production disruption for long due to Eid vacation and labour unrest in the garment sector as well as political turbulence.
According to the EPB data, the export earnings rebounded in September of the current financial year with a 36.26 per cent growth but the growth decreased further in October.
The export earning in July-October of the current financial year grew by 16.47 per cent to $9.74 billion from $8.36 billion during the same period last year, showed the Export Promotion Bureau data released on Sunday.
‘Production disruption in the readymade garment factories during Eid vacation and also political unrest put a negative impact on the export earning of October,’ Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue told New Age.
He said that the slowdown of jute and jute goods export was also a cause for the poor growth.
‘We have to emphasise on the export of other products except RMG and I hope that it will be possible to recover the slowdown of export growth in November and the yearly export target will be achieved,’ Mustafiz said.
He urged exporters to give attention to grab more orders which were being shifted from China, the top apparel product exporter.
The EPB data showed that the export earning from knitwear and woven garments in October grew by 2.9 per cent to $1.68 billion against $1.63 billion in the same period of the FY13.
The export earning from knitwear in the first four months of the current financial year grew by 17.85 per cent to $4.02 billion against $3.41 billion in the same period of the FY13.
Oven garments accounted for $3.86 billion earning with 20.07 per cent growth in first four months of the current financial year but the earning decreased by 1.73 per cent from $3.93 billion target set by the government.
Shafiul Islam Mohiuddin, a former president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, said, ‘This is the impact of frequent unruliness of some people in the garment sector as well as the political unrest.
‘The export growth in October was very thin, although export orders were not poor. Exporters failed to maintain production due to long vacation for Eid-ul-Azha and labour unrest,’ he said.
Shafiul said the frequent political unrest and strikes were also interrupting the whole export-oriented sector which was one of the reasons for declining export earning.
He expressed his concern over the ongoing political unrest and increasing production cost of the garment products and feared that the garment industry might not sustain in future in Bangladesh as the country was losing its competitiveness gradually and India was becoming competitive.
The export earning from jute and jute goods posted a negative growth by 20.66 per cent to $262.14 million in July-October against $330.41 million during the same period last year.
Frozen foods export grew by 44.05 per cent to $264.69 million in the first four months of the current financial year from $183.75 million in the same period of the FY13.
Leather export grew by 49.54 per cent to $160.38 million in July-October of the FY14 from $107.25 million in the same period of the last financial year while the footwear export totalled $193.24 million with a 36.24 per cent growth and leather products export totalled $60.34 million with 13.94 per cent growth.
The agricultural products fetched $189.31 million with a 12.01 per cent growth.
The export earning of specialised textiles in July-October of the current financial year amounted to $40.45 million with 0.07 per cent negative growth against 40.48 per cent negative growth during the same period last year.
The export earnings from engineering products including iron steel, copper wire, stainless steel ware, engineering equipment, electric products and bicycle totalled $128.95 million with a 20.04 per cent growth.