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Export earnings top $17.43b in 7 months

Political turmoil dents RMG export growth in December, January

Staff Correspondent

The country’s total export earnings stood at $17.43 billion in the first seven months of the current financial year 2013-14 with a growth of 15.08 per cent year-on-year, despite last two months’ sluggishness due to political unrest.
Riding on the performance of readymade garment sector, the export earnings in July-January in the FY14 crossed the government-set target for the period by 3.04 per cent, showed the Export Promotion Bureau data released on Sunday.
The RMG sector fetched $14.17 billion in export earnings in July-January, growing by around 17.50 per cent compared with the same period of the last FY13 but jute sector continued to struggle.
Total export earnings in July-January of the FY13 were $15.15 billion with a growth of 8.83 per cent year-on-year.
The export earning growth in January in the current FY, however, continued to show sluggishness with only 7.81 per cent growth to $2.75 billion against 18.81 per cent in January of the FY13.
The RMG sector fetched $2.24 billion in January with a growth of only 7.09 per cent compared with the same month of last year.
Total export earning growth in December of the current FY was also lower at 10.54 per cent against 19.44 per cent in the same month of the last FY.
Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director Mustafizur Rahman told New Age on Sunday that despite last two months’ sluggishness the export earning growth in seven months was encouraging.
‘We were in apprehension that the export growth would fall but the post-Rana Plaza disaster growth is obviously encouraging,’ he said.
Mustafiz said the RMG sector was performing well because of the rebound of the global economy and shifting of orders from China due to higher cost of production there.
He, however, said there was a failure to stimulate the growth of non-RMG products.
Mustafiz said it was true that some orders had been shifted to Vietnam and India due to political unrest; otherwise, the export growth would have been much better.
He said that the country would have to comply with the garment sector safety standard to continue with the positive growth in RMG exports.
Policy Research Institute executive director Ahsan H Mansur said, ‘The export growth in the first seven months is reasonable.
‘But the cost of doing business has increased to some extent, so the value addition has become difficult,’ he said adding that the earnings could be much better if the cost of doing business was eased.
He said that the single-month export growth in December and January decreased as some orders had been shifted to other destinations due to the political turmoil.
He hoped that the export earnings would strongly rebound in the coming months as buyers returned due to easing political situation.
Commerce ministry officials said as the seven-month export growth exceeded the target of $16.92 billion by 3 per cent, they hoped that the annual export target of $30.50 billion would be achieved. 
EPB data showed that during July-January of the current FY woven garments accounted for $7.17 billion in earnings with a 17.32 per cent growth.
The export earnings from knitwear in the July-January period of the current FY grew by 18.13 per cent to $6.99 billion.
The export earnings from jute and jute goods including raw jute, jute yarn and twine, jute sacks and bags and others, however, posted a negative growth of 21.24 per cent to $466.17 million in July-January of the current FY against $591.88 million during the same period last year.
The political turmoil in Syria, Egypt and Thailand and instability in Turkey and Libya as well as economic slowdown in India dented the export of jute and jute goods, the officials said.
Frozen foods export grew by 25.95 per cent to $418.74 million in the seven months of the FY14 from $332.46 million in the same period of the FY13.
Leather exports grew by 45.38 per cent to $289.25 million from $198.96 million.
Footwear exports rose by 33.21 per cent to $338.85 million and leather products exports by 46.61per cent to $123.09 million.
The agricultural products including tea, vegetables, tobacco, cut flower and foliage, fruits, spices and dry food fetched $312.05 million with a 5.34 per cent growth.
The export earnings from the specialised textiles totalled at $68.77 million with a 2.76 per cent negative growth while home textiles fetched $442.42 million with a 0.13 per cent negative growth.
The export earnings from engineering products including iron steel, copper wire, stainless steel ware, engineering equipment, electric products and bicycle totalled at $207.10 million with a 3.07 per cent negative growth.

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