RMG exports to US grow 26.37pc in Jan-Sept period
The country’s apparel exports to the United States, in terms of both volume and value, continued to rise and maintained a double digit growth during the first nine months of this calendar year.
Bangladesh fetched US$ 5.0 billion from readymade garment (RMG) exports to its single largest destination during the January-September period of 2021, according to OTEXA, an affiliate of the US Department of Commerce.
The earnings were 26.37 per cent higher compared to the earnings of $3.95 billion in the corresponding period of last year.
During the nine-month period under review, Bangladesh shipped 1.86 billion square metres of apparel items, up by 33.83 per cent from 1.39 billion square metres in the same period of 2020.
Bangladesh’s main competitors China and Vietnam also witnessed 25.13 per cent and 15.11 per cent growth respectively.
Gradual economic recovery aided by the Covid-19 vaccination coverage, better control over coronavirus infection and a shift of orders from both China and Vietnam have helped achieve the double digit growth, apparel exporters and experts said.
They said the US has been very ‘conservative’ in purchasing apparel items due to the pandemic, but now they have started placing orders to cater for their growing
demands while many of them have shifted from Vietnam due to Covid-led factory closure.
Bangladesh is now in a better position with its capacity to supply the products though the lead time and suppliers’ better negotiation capacity are still a concern, they added.
Bangladesh’s RMG exports to the USA were $5.22 billion in 2020, down from $5.92 billion in 2019, according to the data.
The overall apparel imports of USA from across the world during the period under review also increased by 24.57 per cent to US$ 58.58 billion from $47.02 billion during the same period of 2020, data showed.
During January to September of 2021, the US imported apparels worth $ 13.74 billion from China and $ 10.83 billion from Vietnam.
Apparel exports from other major sourcing destinations like India, Pakistan and Honduras grew by 33.29 per cent, 62.62 per cent and 56.27 per cent respectively.
Cambodia and Indonesia’s exports to the US saw 15 per cent and 7.45 per cent growth respectively, according to data.
When asked, Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, vice president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said that along with China, the work orders were shifting from Vietnam to Bangladesh due to Covid-induced factory closure there.
“The US’s overall import has increased, so from Bangladesh, though it is yet to get back to the pre-pandemic levels,” he said, adding the local suppliers were offering lower rates.
He, however, suggested the local exporters enhance their negotiation capability to ask better prices from the buyers so that they (suppliers) can make profit.
The BKMEA leader also said that the latest fuel price hike would severely affect the cost of doing business which has already shot up significantly mainly because of the price hike of raw materials, especially cotton and yarn, and other logistic charges.
He requested the government to keep the price at a tolerable level by checking corruption and the system losses, and ensuring uninterrupted power supply, saying that the industry has long been suffering from power supply disruptions.
Talking to the FE on Saturday, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) vice president Md Shahidullah Azim also echoed the BKMEA leader.
Buyers might not place fresh orders here or follow a go-slow strategy as the latest fuel hike and transportation strike likely to cause container congestion at the Chattogram seaport, he noted.
A latest QIMA report said that Bangladesh and India saw manufacturing revival in the third quarter of 2021 mainly because of the western brands’ search for alternative sourcing to offset the capacity losses due to lockdowns in Southeast Asia and China’s manufacturing slowdown.
Buyers have increased their garment sourcing inspection and audit volumes by 49 per cent and 67 per cent in Bangladesh and India during Q3 of 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic period of Q3 in 2019.
The demand was particularly strong from among the US-based buyers, it showed.