Bangladesh exports in August rose 7.25 per cent from a year ago driven by an increase in readymade garment exports and ending a brief slowdown in July. Exports fell 1.4 per cent in July from a year earlier, the first decline since August 2012. The August figures were still 17.5 per cent below the government’s monthly target. Exports in 2013-14 were up 11 per cent from the previous year, on the back of stronger garment sales. Exports for 2014-15 are expected to rise 10 per cent from a year earlier. Garment exports for the current financial year have been fixed at $26.9 billion, up 10 per cent since the previous year when clothing sales surged 14 per cent.
Bangladesh is one of the cheapest countries in the world to make large quantities of clothing. It is the second largest exporter of readymade garments after China. Last year, the government raised the minimum wage for garment workers by 77 per cent and amended the labor law to boost workers’ rights. The sector employs nearly four million people and generates 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s export earnings.
However, the garment industry, which supplies to many western brands, has come under pressure after a string of fatal factory accidents.