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Bangladesh - January 9, 2024

Big decline in RMG exports growth

Zarif Mahmud : In the outgoing year, 2023, garment exports from Bangladesh have plunged. At the end of the previous year 2022, where the growth in garment exports was 27.64 percent, the growth in the outgoing year was only 3.67 percent. Export Development Bureau and BGMEA sources have confirmed this information. According to the entrepreneurs and economists of this sector, due to global instability including war and various internal crises, the export of clothing was not as successful as expected in the last year.
Analysis of the data shows that in the previous year i.e. 2022 there was only one month in which there was a negative growth in garment exports 7.52 percent. There has been a negative growth in garment exports in 5 months out of 12 months of 2023.
Apart from this, in the remaining 11 months of 2022, where the growth of garment exports has reached the maximum of 60 percent, the highest growth in the outgoing year is 28 percent.

In the comparative analysis of two years and 12 months in garment exports, it can be seen that in the month of January 2022, there was a growth of 42.71 percent in garment exports from Bangladesh compared to the previous year. And in the month of January 2023, the growth in garment exports was 8.24 percent. Similarly, in February 2022, the growth was 33.77 percent, and in February 2023, the growth was 12.31 percent. The growth in March of the previous year was 60.14 percent, and the negative growth in the outgoing year was 1.04 percent. In April 2022, the growth in apparel exports was 56.31 percent, and in April 2023, there was a negative growth of 15.48 percent. The growth in May of the previous year was 23.53 percent, and the growth in May of the previous year was 28.33 percent. In June 2022, the growth is 41.35 percent, in June 2023, the growth is 6.57 percent.
In addition, in July 2022, the growth in garment exports was 16.61 percent, and in July 2023, the growth was 17.43 percent. In August 2022, the growth is 36.04 percent, in August 2023, the growth is 7.99 percent. In the month of September 2022, the negative growth is 7.52 percent, in the month of September 2023, the growth is 14.46 percent. In the month of October 2022, the growth is 3.27 percent, in the month of October 2023, the negative growth is 13.93 percent. In November 2022, the growth was 35.36 percent, and in November 2023, the negative growth was 7.45 percent. In the month of December 2022, the growth is 15.35 percent and in the month of December 2023, the negative growth is 2.35 percent. As of the full 12 months in 2022, the total growth in garments made from Bangladesh is 27.64 percent. There, the total growth in the 12 months of 2023 is only 3.67%.
Garments exports at the end of the year $47.39 billion. Meanwhile, the Export Development Bureau (EPB) released the year-end export data for 2023 shows that the total export of garments from Bangladesh in this calendar year is $47.39 billion. Which is $1.68 billion more than in 2022, that is, the annual growth has been 3.67 percent. Bangladesh’s total export earnings increased by 2 percent this year, meaning most of this growth came from apparel exports. Exports of knitwear sector increased by 7.47 percent while exports of ovens decreased by 0.81 percent in this growth in garment exports.
The month-on-month export performance for 2023 shows that the year started well with modest growth in January and February of the year. After a sustained decline in March and April, growth returned to a positive trend in the May-September period and maintained it, and export performance in the final quarter of the year was lower than in the final quarter of 2022.
Although the year ended with a decline of 2.35 percent in December, exports in this single month were $ 4.56 billion. The fall in November and December was mainly due to unusually high exports in November and December 2022. Detailed data on country-wise export performance is yet to be released.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh’s apparel exports reached $ 23.39 billion during the July-December period of 2023-24 as of the fiscal year and the growth came down to 1.72 percent.
In this regard, Managing Director of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) and Director of BGMEA Mohiuddin Rubel said that since the growth of global apparel trade fluctuates every year, we think that 2024 will be a year of change. Because 2023 was a weak year for the apparel industry globally and there are indications that consumer demand and spending may pick up again in 2024. On the positive side, despite the challenges the industry has continued its commitment and efforts towards sustainability. The minimum wage has been announced, which came into effect on December 1 last; The progress of industrial transformation towards green industrialization continues to be more vigorous and the progress of industry in reducing carbon emissions is also significantly visible. Efforts to diversify exports in terms of markets, products and fibers make us confident about the future of the industry. We expect that 2024 will see more strategic investment in the industry and a qualitative shift towards a more innovative and technology-oriented industry.
He also said that our economy is currently facing some challenges. I believe that the year 2024 will bring us new hope. Because we expect a positive change in the industry. We have new opportunities, which the industry is exploring ways to exploit, and we also have new challenges. We need continued cooperation and support from all stakeholders including governments, development partners and others to address the challenges and seize the opportunities.

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