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Export Earnings from Leathergoods & Footwear Sector has Reached US$1 Billion for the First Time

In the current fiscal year, 2016-17(July-June) the export earnings from the leather goods and footwear sector crossed the milestone of US$1 billion. The overall export earnings from the leather industry were US$1.23 billion, including finished leather, leather goods, and footwear. The export earnings from the leather industry crossed the export target of US$1.22 billion for this fiscal year. The export earnings from leather goods were US$464.43 million, crossing the export target by 3.21%. Export earnings from leather footwear were US$536.96 million crossing the threshold of US$500 million and the export target by 9.58%. However, the export earnings, from the finished leather were 232.61, when the export target was 280. In the finished leather sector, the export earnings are 16.93% less than the target and declined US$45.49 million compared to the previous fiscal year 2015-16. Besides, leather goods and footwear sector has a positive growth of 19.63% and 8.53% accordingly, compared to the previous fiscal year.
However, the overall export growth dips to 15 years low. The overall export target of Bangladesh export promotion bureau is underachieved by 5.85%. One of the major reasons behind the decline is no significant growth in the readymade garments industry, compared to previous year it has achieved a positive growth of only 0.20, where garments exports are accountable for 82% of the national exports. June's export receipts fell by 15.27% to US$3.04 billion from the previous month, which is again 16.52 percent lower than the monthly target of $3.64 billion. EPB Vice Chairman Bijoy Bhattacharjee said they are scrutinising reasons for the decline in exports to major markets. One reason might be the volatility of exchange rates, he said while making public the official export data at the EPB office in Dhaka. “We also need to find out whether the unit price of exportable items has declined,” said Bhattacharjee. The taka appreciated nearly 8 percent against the US dollar. Over the past 10 years, garment exports had been increasing at a year-on-year rate of over 13 percent. “We need to find out the reasons for the slowdown in garment exports,” said Faruque Hassan, vice-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. He said Bangladesh should focus more on producing value-added garment items so that earnings grow while production costs stay the same. Exporters said Brexit has had a negative impact for the depreciation of the pound against the dollar. The UK is the third largest export destination for Bangladesh, importing products worth over $3 billion a year.

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