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Exports increase 17% despite political unrest

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The country’s export earnings rose 16.6% to US$14.68bn in the first half of the current fiscal year, despite growing political turmoil and continuous RMG labour unrest over their wage hike.

The earnings were $12.6bn in the July-December period of last year.

In December, exports rose to $2.72bn, which is 10.5% higher compared to $2.46bn for the same month last year, according to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) statistics. But the growth in December went down compared to the 25.34% growth in November last year.

The figure is 4% higher than the target of $2.6bn set for the month. RMG export posted over 20% growth to nearly $12bn in the first half of the current fiscal year compared to the same period of last year’s value of $10bn.

The knitwear and woven garments, the two largest export earners, posted 19.5% and 20% growth respectively, followed by frozen foods 30%, shrimps 34%, Vegetables 35%, footwear 35% and leather 44% in July-December period compared to same period of the last year.

Jute and jute products marked over 17% fall, which was followed by home textiles 6%, ships, boats and floating structures 93%. Among the major sectors, knitwear earned the highest amount of over $5.9bn, followed by woven garments nearly $6bn in the first half of the current fiscal. Footwear exports fetched $285m, frozen foods $377m and leather $239m during the period.

The export growth is good but the cost of doing business has been increased due to the political unrest, which cast bad impact on profit margin, said Mustasfizur Rahman, executive director of Centre for Policy Dialogue.

“We are yet to face the adverse impact of the latest RMG factory disaster and the political unrest. But if it continues further, Bangladesh will have to face the consequence,??? he warned.

Although the earnings went up, the RMG sector is now facing a critical situation, said Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of Exporters Association of Bangladesh (EAB). Export earnings in December do not reflect the real scenario of the RMG sector as these orders were placed in June, from which, the country earned foreign exchange during last month, he added.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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