Bangladesh exports bounce back with 0.6% growth amid COVID-19 crisis

  • Abdur Rahim Harmachi, Chief Economics Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-08-04 19:59:36 BdST

Bangladesh's export earnings have rebounded with around 0.6 percent year-on-year growth in July after slipping for six months in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic that has brought the global economy to its knees.

The country exported goods worth $3.91 billion last month, beating the target by 13.4 percent. The figure is also higher than that of any month in the last fiscal year that ended on Jun 30, according to Export Promotion Bureau data published on Tuesday.

Exports posted year-on-year monthly growth for the last time in December 2019 when the earnings grew by 2.89 percent.

After the pandemic began in China in early 2020, Bangladesh’s export earnings dipped to as low as $520 million in April, which was half the remittances received that month and 85.37 percent less than the same month last year.

Export earnings turned around in May, growing almost three times over in April, but with a 61.56 percent year-on-year drop, when the factories began reopening with relaxed restrictions.

The government has set a $48 billion export target for the financial year 2020-21 with the hope of a recovery from the global economic slowdown due to the pandemic.

The target is about 20 percent more than the export earnings but $6 billion less than the target of the last fiscal year.

Bangladesh earned $40.06 billion from exports in 2019-20 fiscal year, missing the target by nearly 25.3 percent and marking a 14.8 percent year-on-year drop as the pandemic led to a slump in global consumption and travel restrictions.

The new target envisages $41 billion earnings from goods export and $7 billion in services export.

New Generation Garments is manufacturing the PPEs having ensured the complete safety of its workers. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

New Generation Garments is manufacturing the PPEs having ensured the complete safety of its workers. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

Researcher Ahsan H Mansur said Bangladesh must keep in mind that it would still have posted negative growth in exports last financial year even if the coronavirus crisis had not struck the world.

The executive director of Policy Research Institute called for efforts to keep pace with the rest of the world as most of the economies have reopened with certain health rules in place “to save livelihoods along with lives” after months of growing unemployment.