Bangladesh Exports up 27% in November as Western Festive Sales Peak Begins

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog07-12-2023

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Exports grew by 27 percent in November over October as the festival season has begun in Bangladesh's main export destinations and demand for garments in the West has increased.

According to data released by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) on Monday, garment exports stood at $4.05 billion in November, up 28 percent from $3.16 billion in October.

The positive growth in export trend data came just a day after central bank data showed that remittance inflows declined by 2.4 percent in November from the previous month.

However, overall export earnings in November came in at $4.78 billion, down 6 percent from a year ago, when exports surged on pent-up demand during the recovery from the New Crown epidemic.

Apparel makers said they had to ship extra supplies to global buyers and brands to help them build inventory ahead of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day, despite disruptions from worker unrest and political programs.

They are hopeful that this trend will continue in the coming months, as the peak selling season in the European and U.S. markets usually lasts through January.

In an interview with Business Standard, Shafiur Rahman, country manager of Dutch brand G-Star Raw, said that in general, November is the month when each apparel brand generates about 30 percent of its annual sales, which is the main reason for the increase in exports.

He explained that due to Black Friday sales, some stores emptied their shelves and rushed to build fresh stocks with shorter delivery times.

Shafir also mentioned that the October supply may have been partially delivered in November due to disruptions caused by worker unrest.

Sayed M Tanvir, managing director of Pacific Jeans, said exporters faced pressure from global buyers in November to ship goods before Christmas.

November's exports also indicate that apparel exports may rebound to last year's positive trend, which was expected, he added.

Faruque Hassan, president of BGMEA, said there were three reasons for the decline in earnings from the same period last year: a slowdown in global demand for apparel, a drop in unit prices, and disruptions in production due to worker unrest in November.

However, he said the apparel industry is seeing some positive signs of a rebound in the coming months as some brands have cleared out inventory ahead of the holiday sales rush.

He added that December has festivals such as Christmas and Boxing Day, and for once stores in the West are selling well.

The apparel industry leader said most countries stopped raising interest rates after about 18 months as inflation started to fall, setting the stage for a positive growth trend.

The industry leader added that global fuel prices and freight costs are also falling, which is another indicator that the world economy is recovering.

Although the export industry is facing increased global pressure on labor rights issues ahead of the national elections, Farouk Hassan is confident that the government will be able to deal with the situation by holding free, fair and acceptable elections.

He also hopes that their global business partners will not confuse politics with business.

According to the EPA, overall export earnings in October were $3.76 billion, a 26-month pattern.

Exports totaled $4.78 billion in November this year, down 6.05 percent from $5.09 billion in the same month last fiscal year.

Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) Executive Chairman Mohammad Hatem is hopeful that the business may return to a positive trend next year if the political situation does not worsen.

Despite an increase in apparel shipments, all major industries registered negative growth in export earnings during July-November FY24 period.

Among the sectors, home textiles and leather showed negative growth.

Export earnings from agricultural products, jute products and engineering products also registered negative growth during July-November FY24 as compared to the same period last year.

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