* Exports in July-August up 13.8 pct yr/yr on garment sales
* Key garment exports rise 14 pct in July-August on year
* Aims to raise exports to $37.5 bln in year to June (Adds details)
DHAKA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Bangladesh’s exports in August rose 10.7 percent from a year earlier to $3.6 billion, driven by stronger garment sales, official data showed on Sunday.
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, the first two months of the country’s 2017/2018 financial year, rose 13.8 percent from a year earlier to $6.6 billion, the Export Promotion Bureau said.
Sales of garments, comprising knitwear and woven items, totalled $5.5 billion in July and August, up 14 percent from a year earlier.
The garment industry, which supplies 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 government has set an export target of $37.5 billion for the 2017-18 financial year, with ready-made garments earning $30.16 billion.
Exports in the previous financial year that ended in June rose 1.7 percent from a year earlier to $34.7 billion, but that was the slowest growth in 15 years, with garment sales up just 0.2 percent growth.
Exporters blamed the lacklustre growth for the previous financial year on a number of factors, including sluggish demand in key markets, structural reforms in the garment sector, a weak euro and appreciation of the local currency against the U.S. dollar.
In July, Bangladesh’s central bank left key interest rates unchanged, saying it was trying to balance economic growth and inflation risks. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)