Consumers are under the pressure of price inflation in the United States, United Kingdom and European Union countries, which are the main markets for Bangladeshi-made clothes. As a result, sales in shops selling ready-made clothes have decreased. The stock of goods in the warehouse is increasing. As a result, the rate of new purchase orders for the next two seasons is decreasing. Again, the current purchase order is also suspended.
In the fiscal year 2021-22 that ended last June, the growth in apparel exports was 35 percent. In the first month of the new financial year 2022-23, i.e. July, garment exports were worth $337 million. Then the growth was only 16 percent. As growth slowed in July, growth was expected to slow in the following months. But the latest data suggests that exports did not fall as much as expected in August.
The Export Development Bureau (EPB) usually publishes export data at the end of the month. However, apart from EPB, BGMEA, an association of garment industry owners, keeps track of how many garments are being exported every day. According to the preliminary data of the organization, in the first 24 days of this month, 2.74 billion 3.8 million dollars worth of garments were exported. This income is 51.21 percent higher than the same period last year. In the first 24 days of August last year, apparel exports were worth $181.46 million. And at the end of that month, the amount of garment exports was 2.75 billion dollars.
According to EPB data, readymade garments exports were worth $4,261 million in the outgoing fiscal year 2021-22. This export is 35 percent more than the previous year. In the financial year 2020-21, readymade garments exports were worth 3 thousand 146 crores.
When asked, Chairman of Tusuka Group and Director of BGMEA, Arshad Jamal told Prothom Alo that due to political unrest, many buyers want to move a significant part of their business from China. Bangladesh is the first choice of all in this case. Many buyers have indicated that they will increase their business in Bangladesh. He further said that due to high inflation, buyers are suspending their ongoing purchase orders due to reduced sales. New purchase orders are also coming less. As a result, our business will be bad for two to three months.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the export of ready-made garments may indeed decrease for a temporary period. Last week, US multinational retailer Walmart canceled hundreds of billions of dollars worth of purchase orders it had placed with manufacturers around the world in August. Many businessmen of Bangladesh are worried about this. Because Walmart is one of the top buyers of Bangladeshi-made clothes.
When asked, Executive President of BKMEA Mohammad Hatem told Prothom Alo last Saturday, ‘Exports cannot be said to be bad so far. We are saying that the rate of new purchase orders is very low. There are also cases of postponement of ongoing procurement work. Exports may decrease slightly from next October.
Mohammad Hatim also said, ‘Due to the trade war, corona restrictions and restrictions on the use of Chinese cotton, buyers are shifting their business from China. It can increase our exports. However, as the sales have come down drastically and cotton prices are on the downside, buyers are taking some time to place new purchase orders. Hopefully, the situation will improve soon.