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Bangladesh’s July-August apparel exports up 10 per cent

Bangladesh’s exports in August rose 10.7 per cent from a year earlier, driven by stronger garment sales. Garments are a key foreign exchange earner for the South Asian nation, whose low wages and duty-free access to western markets have helped make it the world’s second largest apparel exporter after China.

Exports for July and August of 2017-2018 financial year, rose 13.8 per cent from a year earlier. Sales of garments, comprising knitwear and woven items, were up 14 per cent from a year earlier. The garment industry, which supplies to many Western brands, came under scrutiny after a string of fatal factory accidents, including a 2013 building collapse that killed more than 1,130 people.

The export target for the 2017-18 financial year is $37.5 billion, with readymade garments earning $30.16 billion dollars. Exports in previous financial year that ended in June rose 1.7 per cent from a year earlier, but that was the slowest growth in 15 years, with garment sales up just 0.2 per cent.

Reasons for the lackluster growth the previous financial year include sluggish demand in key markets, structural reforms in the garment sector, a weak euro and appreciation of the local currency against the dollar.