A worker is working at a RMG factory in Bangladesh. Photo: BBN

Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh’s export earnings grew nearly by 6.0 per cent in the fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 mainly due to depreciation of the local against the US dollar.

The overall export earnings rose to US$30.61 billion in the July-June period of the FY 18 from $34.65 billion in the same period of the FY 17 but fell short of the government’s target of $37.5 billion, according the state-run Export Promotion Bureau (EPB)’s latest statistics.

The country’s export growth was almost satisfactory but ‘nothing to be overwhelmed,’ exporters said, adding that the exchange of Bangladesh Taka (BDT) depreciated against the US currency helped to achieve the growth.

The exchange rate of local currency depreciated significantly against the US dollar in the FY 18 mainly due to higher demand for the greenback for settling import bills.

The BDT depreciated by BDT 3.12 to BDT 83.72 on June 28 in the inter-bank foreign exchange market from BDT 80.60 on July 02, 2017, the first working day of the outgoing FY.

Economists, however, said such slower growth in export performance may would the balance of payments gap in the near future that also may create pressure on the foreign exchange market.

“Actually, we need a strong double digit growth in export earnings to meet the expenses of development projects,” a senior economist explained.

Alone in June, exports receipts stood at $2.94 billion, down 3.08 per cent over the same month in the last fiscal year. The monthly target was, however, missed by 18.87 per cent.

The target was fixed at $3.62billion for the month of June, 2018.

However, earnings from readymade garment (RMG) covering both knitwear and woven increased by 8.76 per cent to $30.61 billion in the FY 18 from $28.15 billion a year ago.

Knitwear exports went up by 10.40 per cent year-on-year to $15.19 billion in the FY 18 from $13.76 billion while shipment of woven garments rose by 7.18 per cent to $15.43 billion from $14.39 billion.

Shipment of agricultural products witnessed a higher 21.79 per cent growth in FY18 as the country exported agricultural items worth $673.70 million during the period.

Jute and jute products witnessed a 6.56 per cent growth and the country exported jute and jute items worth $1.03 billion.

Home textile items, including bed-sheets and kitchen towels, export rose by 12.15 per cent to $878.60 million in FY18.

Besides, export of primary items, frozen fish, chemical products, cement, salt, stone, construction materials and ceramic items increased in FY18. But leather and leather goods sector fetched $1.09 billion, down $0.14 billion from of FY17’s $1.23 billion.