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Apparel exports create new milestones in 2007-08
Aug '08
The Bangladesh textile and garment industry has been plagued by a lot of problems in the last one year. But this has not affected the sector which is blazing new trails and setting new milestones in its apparel shipments in the last fiscal year, in the midst of rising energy and raw material costs and an ever growing labour unrest in its garment factories.

The fiscal year 2007-08 saw Bangladesh textile and garment sector earning US $14.11 billion in export revenues, registering a growth of 15.87 percent compared to the previous year. The largest contribution, as always, came from the readymade garment (RMG) sector.

Garment exports from this small Asian country grew from $9.21 billion in the corresponding period of last year to touch a nadir of US $10.71 billion in the Bangladesh fiscal year July'07-June'08, to post a growth of an astounding 16.18 percent.

The Bangladesh garment sector has none other than the Chinese textile and garment industry to thank partly for the robust growth achieved in the last 12 months, and mainly due to the down trend witnessed by the Chinese textile juggernaut in the last few months.

Chinese goods which at one time were the most price competitive in the global market, have lost their edge, because of ever increasing costs of raw materials, appreciation of the RMB and rising energy and labour costs.

This in turn has helped garment exporters from other Asian countries like Bangladesh, India and Vietnam. Bangladesh is one of the few countries to have taken the maximum advantage from this situation.

While exports of woven garments grew from $4.65 billion in the previous July'06-June'07 fiscal to $5.16 billion in July'07-June'08 fiscal to register a growth of 11.0 percent, shipments of knit apparels on the other hand rose by an awesome 21.48 percent to touch $5.53 billion from $4.55 billion in the corresponding periods.

There is no doubt that the key driver in growth of garment exports has been the contribution of shipments of knit garments.

During the fiscal under consideration, exports have consistently recorded growth in each month of the year, except for three months. Exports grew from $691.98 million in July'07 to $1143.56 million in June'08 to register a growth of a remarkable 65.41 percent.

In comparison, shipments for the corresponding months of July'06 climbed from $904.89 million to just $961.24 million in June'07 to clock a growth rate of a marginal 6.30 percent.

Bangladesh garment exports have no doubt been fueled by the Chinese slowdown, but other global factors have also contributed to this above average growth rates.

The continuous appreciation of the Indian rupee in 2007, due to which exports of apparels and textiles from India had witnessed a slow down, in turn also helped exporters from Bangladesh to deliver such incredible results

The scorching growth rates achieved in the last fiscal has emboldened the garment sector to set ambitious export targets for the next few years. It has set a target of $25 billion to be achieved by 2010.

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