RMG exports to US fall 24.75% in Jan-Oct

Abu Sufian

Bangladesh’s apparel exports to the United States, its largest single-country market, plummeted by 24.75% year-on-year in the first ten months of this year,

reaching $6.35 billion. The decline was primarily driven by a significant decrease in apparel demand within the US market over the past one year, fuelled by high inflation.

In the same period last year, apparel shipments stood at $8.45 billion. In terms of volume, Bangladesh’s RMG exports to the US declined by 29.51% to 1.95 billion square metres from 2.41 billion square metres

in the corresponding period, according to data released on Wednesday by the US Department of Commerce’s Office of Textiles and Apparel.

In October, apparel shipments declined by 36.50% to $578.35 million year-on-year, the data showed.

The US’s apparel imports from the world also declined by 22.71% to $67.26 billion in the first 10 months of 2023, compared to $87.03 billion in the same period last year.

The US data showed that Bangladesh’s position remained unchanged as the third-largest apparel exporter in the US market with 9.54% share in January-October 2023, while China

and Vietnam occupied the first and second-highest positions with 20.71% and 18.01% share, respectively. Earlier, Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment

Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), said there were three reasons for lower earnings compared to the same period last year: a slowdown in global apparel demand, a

fall in unit price, and a disruption in production due to worker unrest in November. However, the apparel sector sees some positive signs to bounce back in the months ahead,

as some brands have already cleared their inventories ahead of peak festival sales, he added.

In December, there are festivals including Christmas and Boxing Day, and this time stores in western countries see good sales, pointed out the BGMEA president.

Most countries stopped hiking interest rates after about 18 months as inflation started going down, the apparel sector leader said, laying the groundwork for the positive growth trend.

Fuel prices and freight costs were also going down globally, which is another indicator of the world coming back into business, the industry leader added. The BGMEA president had earlier also said the overall apparel market size in the EU and the US had been shrinking

and Bangladesh was doing better than its competitors. He attributed the recent slowdown in Bangladesh’s garment exports to a gloomy global economic outlook and trade

projections, indicating a potential continuation of decreased demand and orders throughout the year. “2023 will not be a favourable year for the apparel trade,” Faruque Hassan asserted, predicting a significant decline in global garment trade for the year.


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