Bangladesh earned $4.31 billion in merchandise exports in September which is the second lowest this year, according to data released by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) today.
Earlier in April, the export earnings fell to the lowest at $3.96 billion.
According to EPB, year-on-year (YoY), exports grew 10.37% in September, up from $3.9 billion in the same month a year ago. The export earnings also fell behind 7% of the $4.63 billion target.
Earlier in August, exports grew by around 36% YoY to $4.61 billion driven by a number of products including readymade garments, home textiles, leather and jute goods, according to the EPB.
The country's export earnings have been on the decline since last June, except in August. In June, Bangladesh raked in over $5 billion in merchandise exports, which fell to $4.59 billion in July.
An analysis of the EPB data shows that apart from the ready-made clothing sector, exports fell in the other major sectors including frozen and live fish, agricultural products, plastic goods, leather and leather products, jute and jute goods, home textile in September.
During the period, only RMG exports soared 13% last month.
About 85% of Bangladesh's exports come from the ready-made garment sector.
Meanwhile, some RMG exporters find the EPB data misleading.
"Many factories have low export orders. Not working properly. Then how is exports increasing, I do not understand," Fazlee Shamim Ehsan, vice president of Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA) told The Business Standard.
However, experts say the exports growth data is not misleading.
"The demand side would continue in the coming months as inflation is easing in Europe and America. But it is important to consider whether our supply side will be impacted by local issues [elections and other factors]," Professor Mustafizur Rahman, distinguished fellow of Center for Policy Research (CPD), told The Business Standard.
He said, "In the last year and a half, the local currency has devalued more than by 25% against the US dollar. But it is a matter of concern that competitiveness among exporters are not growing simultaneously."