COVID -19 has severely affected Bangladesh exports, mainly due to the huge drop in shipment of readymade garments. According to the Export Promotion Bureau data, readymade garment (RMG) exports decreased 16.94 per cent to $27.47 billion in 2020 from $33.07 billion the previous year. Latest figures reveal the country’s export earnings in 2020 fell to $33.60 billion from $39.33 billion in the previous year as the COVID-19 outbreak hit global economy.
The first lockdown caused unprecedented disruption between March and May, when billions of dollars worth of exports were cancelled or postponed, threatening the country's garment industry which is responsible for more than 80 per cent of the county’s exports. Export earnings began to increase again from June but the second wave started taking a toll from October, although exports from July to December were down only 0.36 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.
Bangladesh Garment Manufacturer and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has expressed fear that the downward trend will continue until April as the situation appears to be worsening with exports in December down nearly 10 per cent on the same month in the previous year.
BGMEA President Rubana Huq’s saus, woven garment export posted the worst performance since June 2020 as it declined 18.07 per cent. Given the effect of lockdowns in Europe and the US and its impact on retail and demand, the worst ever Christmas sales the world has seen, and most of all the effect of price decline, it was a dark year for the industry that the industry has seen.