Bangladesh earned over $5 billion from merchandise exports in November, a record income in a month thanks to a surge in the apparel exports, according to official figures.
The November export earnings of $5.09 reported by Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) on Thursday surpassed the previous monthly highest income of $4.098 billion in last June.
The $5.09 billion earned in November was 26% higher than the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year, said EPB.
The surge in the export earnings comes at a time when the Western countries, the main buyers of Bangladesh apparels, are fighting a depressed demand mainly due to energy crisis caused by Russia-Ukraine war.
This achievement raised hope of easing the growing foreign exchange crisis Bangladesh has been suffering since July this year.
On a positive trend, the export earnings in the first five months of FY23 grew by 11% compared to last year’s corresponding period, the latest EPB data showed.
This is the first time Bangladesh’s export earnings crossed $5.0 billion in a single month as the manufactures, especially of apparels, received more orders from Western buyers and shipment of on-hold export consignments.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Faruque Hassan told UNB that apparel orders, which had been declining in past few months, marked an upward trend because of product diversification and adding new export destinations like South Korea, non-European Union (EU) member countries and some African countries.
He expressed hope that the order will go up further during winter and the Christmas celebrations as the Bangladesh supply capacity is good and the prices of clothes are very reasonable so far.
The BGMEA president pointed out that despite a surge in raw material prices the resumption of shipment of on-hold consignments and focusing more on diversification the Bangladesh export market is creating a better option for all types of buyers.
European trade researcher Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque said Bangladesh is exporting very essential clothing items at a reasonable rate, whose demand has increased slightly in the European market.
The demand for clothing at affordable prices has increased in Europe where inflation-hit buyers are struggling with high energy prices.
Bangladesh manufactures regular wear and home textile items and this dominates its exports to EU markets, said Razzaque.
Besides, exports of fruits, vegetables, frozen fish, jute and leather products, and handicrafts to EU countries also increased, he said.
He said Bangladesh’s export destination in EU-plus countries, the UK, Canada, and the USA will grow continuously, as the sign of ending the Russia-Ukraine war is being visible.
Dr M Abu Eusuf, professor of development studies, at DU echoed Razzaque’s optimism saying the EU market is very potential for Bangladesh.
He said that the demand for Bangladeshi apparel has been increasing by 10% every year in the Western countries.
“We are seeing that result in November, where the export earnings crossed $5 billion for the first time, and this trend will continue,” he added.