During the Covid pandemic, net exports of readymade clothes fell for three consecutive quarters in April-June 2021, owing to low demand for high-value products.
According to Bangladesh Bank data, net apparel export fell to $4.17 billion in April-June as the country’s gross RMG export was $7.97 billion compared to $3.8 billion in raw material imports.
In the July-September 2020 period, net RMG export was $5.28 billion, while raw material imports were $2.85 billion, resulting in a total export of $8.13 billion.
Bangladesh’s net RMG export or value addition had been on the decline since the Covid outbreak as customers all over the world had opted to follow austerity. The coronavirus outbreak, which began in China in early 2020 and subsequently spread across the world, affected the country’s RMG exports the most during the April-June quarter of this year. After an immediate bounce back in the July-September period, actual earnings against apparel export deteriorated in the subsequent three quarters. Bangladesh’s export to the US was $1.64 billion during the April-June quarter in 2021. It is followed by $800 million to the UK, $521 million to Spain, $491 million to France, $291 million to Italy.
The government initially announced a Tk 5,000-crore stimulus package for the apparel sector. Later, the size of the package was enhanced to above Tk 10,000 crore.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association vice-president Md Shahidullah Azim told New Age that global buyers had been purchasing basic items due to the Covid outbreak. Businesses across the globe have entered a recovery phase and demand for value-added products would increase gradually in the coming months, he said. In the April-June quarter, RMG export represented 81.15 per cent of the country’s $9.82 billion export. Bangladesh has already lost its position as the second top RMG exporter in the world to Vietnam.
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