FY15 export earning growth lowest in 13yrs

Total earnings stand at $31.19b against the govt target of $33.2b

Moinul Haque

03The export earnings growth hit its 13-year low at 3.35 per cent year-on-year in the just concluded financial year 2014-15 as political turmoil in the country and decline in the readymade garment prices on the global market hurt the export business.
The growth was the lowest since the FY 2001-02 when it was 7.43 per cent.
The country’s export earnings in the FY 2014-15 stood at $31.19 billion with a shortfall of $2 billion from the government-set target of $33.20 billion, according to the Export Promotion Bureau data which will be released today.
The government had set for the FY 2014-15 the export earnings target at $33.20 billion with a year-on-year growth of 10.02 per cent which was the lowest target rate since the FY09 when the growth target was 15.50 per cent.
The earnings target from the major export items, RMG products, was set at $26.89 billion for the FY15 which is 9.82 per cent higher than $24.49 billion earned in the FY14.
Experts and exporters said the political turmoil, decreased value of products on the world market, deprecation of the euro and the impact of Rana Plaza building collapse were the reasons for the shortfall in the export target in the FY15.
They said the export earnings witnessed a minimal growth in terms of value but the volume of export perhaps increased.
According to EPB officials, the export earnings from the RMG products in the FY15 witnessed a shortfall of $1.4 billion from the government-set target of $26.89 billion.
The RMG exports amounted to $25.49 billion in the FY15 with around 4 per cent growth.
According to EPB officials, the single-month export earnings in June 2015 stood at $3.05 billion against $2.8 billion in the same month of the FY14.
The year-on-year export earnings in the FY15 grew by 3.35 per cent to $31.19 billion against $30.17 billion in the FY14.
EPB officials said the growth would be 3.5 per cent if the earnings from IT exports were included. Even if it were 3.5 per cent, the growth will still be the lowest in 13 years.
In the last 13 years, the export earnings registered a poor growth of 4.11 per cent in the FY 2009-10 while the earnings registered highest 41.47 per cent growth in the FY2010-11, the EPB data showed.
Policy Research Institute executive director Ahsan H Mansur told New Age that the political turmoil and currency devaluation in the eurozone were the key reasons for the shortfall in the export target.
He said that the export earnings growth hit its 13-year low as the value of products decreased on the global market.
But the volume of exports might increase, he said.
The impact of the Rana Plaza building collapse and the slow growth in the US market were the other reasons for the sluggish export earnings growth, Mansur said.
Abdus Salam Murshedy, president of the Exporters Association of Bangladesh, said the export earnings registered a minimal growth in the FY15 as the RMG sector had been going through a transformation since the Rana Plaza building collapse.
The Rana Plaza building collapse at Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on April 24, 2013 killed more than 1,100 people, mostly garment workers.
‘At the same time, exporters faced political turmoil in the last two years that hit hard the export business,’ Salam said.
Salam, also a former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, hoped that despite challenges exporters would overcome the shortfall in the next fiscal year as the political stability was restored in the country.
EPB vice-chairman Shubhashish Bose told reporters that the export earnings in the FY15 registered a minimal growth due to price fall of apparel products as the prices of raw materials including cotton and yearn decreased on the international market.
According to the EPB vice-chairman, the earnings from knitwear grew by 3.13 per cent while that from woven increased by around 5 per cent.
He said that the footwear export grew by 24 per cent, leather products by 3.78 per cent, jute shacks and bags by 26.72 per cent, plastic product 17.35 per cent bicycle by 11.76 per cent.
The shrimps export, however, registered a 7.35-per cent negative growth, he added.

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