In the first nine months of the current calendar year Bangladesh’s apparel exports to the United States grew by a meager 0.61 per cent. In comparison, one of its main competitors, Vietnam, posted a 1.64 per cent growth during the January to September period of 2016. Sluggish economic recovery in the United States, Bangladesh’s single largest shipment destination, is largely to blame for the slowdown in export growth. For the first time, readymade garment exports from India maintained a negative growth of 0.08 per cent in the current calendar year while Cambodia's exports declined by 14.39 per cent.
Orders from China are shifting to Vietnam as the latter has developed its strength in producing non-cotton items which also helped it in earning more. On the other hand Chinese apparel exports continued a negative growth of 8.64 per cent during the same period this year. Global demand for apparel has slowed down in recent times, which means prices of apparels are not increasing.
The current global apparel market is estimated at 1.1 trillion dollars. Almost 75 per cent of this market is concentrated in EU, US, China and Japan. The next largest markets are Brazil, India, Russia, Canada and Australia, in descending order. Bangladesh’s exports of non-apparel items, including shrimp and plastic products, also declined by 6.92 per cent in the first nine months of the current calendar year.