DHAKA, April 8 (Reuters) - Bangladesh’s exports in March fell 7.23 percent to $1.98 billion from a year earlier as a frail global economy bit its overseas sales, the country’s Exports Promotion Bureau said on Sunday.
However, business leaders expect the pace of growth to pick up from May driven by readymade garments orders from western buyers but said the country is unlikely to achieve its 2011-12 exports target of $26.5 billion, a rise of 15 percent from the previous fiscal year.
Exports for July-March, the first nine months of the 2011-12 financial year, were up 10.36 percent to $17.88 billion, still 6.15 percent short of the target.
“Export will pick up from May and will continue to grow as more orders are coming from key western buyers,” said Anwar-ul Alam Chowdhury, former president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
And orders for basic garments would continue to shift to Bangladesh from China, where costs are rising, he said.
Earnings from readymade garments in July-March rose 12 percent from the same period the previous year to $14 billion.
Exports surged 41.5 percent in the 2010-11 fiscal year to a record $23 billion, boosted by clothing sales after a dramatic shift in China’s orders to the lower-cost South Asian country. Bangladesh’s low labour costs have helped it join the global supply chain for clothing.
Garment export is one of the key drivers of the country’s more than $100 billion economy, along with remittances from Bangladeshis working overseas. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Anis Ahmed)