UK saves situation with 13pc growth in H2

MONIRA MUNNI |  January 22, 2024


Apparel shipments to the UK showed an exception with a double-digit growth amid a downturn in other major traditional markets, like the European Union, the United States and Canada, in the first half of this fiscal.

Bangladesh earned US$2.71 billion from apparel shipments to its third-largest destination-the United Kingdom-during the July-December period of the financial year (FY) 2023-24, according to data compiled by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

The amount accounts for a 13.24-percent growth over the corresponding period of last fiscal.

Exports of readymade garments to the UK fetched US$2.39 billion during the same period in 2022-23, the data showed.

The country’s total RMG exports were worth US$23.39 billion during the first half of the current fiscal (2023-24).

Asked about the performance of the single-largest export industry of Bangladesh, BGMEA president Faruque Hassan said UK’s brands and retailers are doing comparatively better despite a bleak global economic scenario.

“UK brands and buyers, specifically those who source low-and mid-end items, are doing good business and many of them, fortunately, source those products from Bangladesh in bulk quantity,” he said.

Citing an example, the apex apparel-body leader says Primark is doing best over there.

Talking to the FE, Fazlul Hoque, former president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), said compared to other countries, business is good in the UK.

He attributes the trade growth to the UK currency, which remains stronger than the US dollar, among the possible reasons.

There are many small buyers and importers who are well aware of local strengths of timely shipments and quality products and source from Bangladesh, an exporter said.

On the other hand, Bangladesh’s shipments to the EU market decreased 1.24 per cent to US$11.36 billion during the past July-to-December period, down from US$11.50 billion in the corresponding period of fiscal 2022-23, according to BGMEA data.

The EU as a bloc is the largest export destination for made-in-Bangladesh wears as it accounted for 48.57 per cent of Bangladesh’s total apparel shipments during the period.

Similarly, RMG exports to the US recorded a 5.69-percent negative growth to US$4.03 billion during July-December period of fiscal’24, down from US$4.27 billion in the corresponding period of last fiscal.

Apparel shipments to Canada during the period witnessed 4.16-percent fall to US$741.94 million which was US$774.16 million during the corresponding period of last fiscal, according to data.

Exports to non-traditional markets, including Japan, Australia, and Russia, however, recorded a rather robust growth of 12.28 per cent to US$4.53 billion during the first half of the current fiscal.

With stress on the country’s foreign-exchange reserves, government high-ups hammer for enlarging the export basket with newer products and exploring diverse markets to boost foreign-currency earnings.