COVID-19 impacts Bangladesh’s sweater exports

Coronavirus issues have started impacting Bangladesh’s sweater segment as almost 80 percent of man-made sweater yarns are imported mostly from China, said Mostafa Sobhan Rubel, Managing Director of Dragon Group, a leading sweater exporter.

The lockdown in China had slowed down the import process of raw materials into Bangladesh. Bangladesh sweater exporters are in a dilemma as from November till February which is an offseason period for the sweater factories and usually, Bangladesh exporters export below 50 % capacity of their installed capacity,

However, peak seasons which start from March till October changes that trend completely as during this period our factories are running on 100 % capacities with many factories engaging 2 or 3 shifts or even subcontracting from authorized and approved factories.

But just as they were approaching the peak season with huge orders booked till June and July, then suddenly this virus stopped the entire world where its sweaters are exported, said Rubel.

Due to the global shutdown some buyers are asking these exporters to keep the goods on hold and some are even cancelling orders, which were placed earlier. According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) data, in the fiscal year 2018-19, Bangladesh earned USD 4.25 billion from sweater export, which is 15.82 per cent higher compared to USD 3.67 billion the FY18.

Talking to Textile Today, sweater manufacturers and trade analysts have opined that technological upgradation has contributed a lot to increase the export earnings, while extended winter expedites the growth.

According to the BKMEA leader almost all sweater factories have installed the automated machine. The sweater industries need to be incubated immediately by the government through favourable policies for at least the next 6 months so that it can come out of this imminent crisis, sector leaders opined.