Garment exports from Bangladesh are anticipated to experience a moderate growth ranging between 7 and 10 percent in 2024, rebounding from a sluggish performance in the previous year due to a global economic slowdown.
Throughout January-November of the past year, the country’s garment shipments registered a modest year-on-year growth of 4.35 percent, reaching $42.83 billion—an unusually low rate. Historically, Bangladesh’s garment sector maintained a consistent 10 percent growth over the last decade, excluding the Covid-19 period, contributing to a nearly $50 billion export market, constituting around 8 percent of the $700 billion global market.
However, the sector faced challenges in 2023, marked by historic inflation in major markets like Europe and the US, leading to a slowdown in garment shipments. Despite this, local exporters anticipate a resurgence in 2024, buoyed by the US, Bangladesh’s primary export destination, halting its high-interest rate in the last quarter.
Mr. Faruque Hassan, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, acknowledged the challenges faced in the outgoing year but emphasized that, considering the tight global economic situation, it wasn’t a bad year compared to other nations.
In 2022, the global export market for garment items contracted to $576 billion from over $700 billion. Despite the downturn, Bangladesh gained market share in the European Union (EU), surpassing China as the leading knitwear exporter in both value and volume.
However, the past year presented formidable challenges for the garment sector, including labor unrest related to a wage hike and ongoing issues stemming from the repercussions of Covid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Looking ahead, 2024 is expected to be significant for Bangladesh’s business landscape, with a new government bringing fresh vision and addressing global changes and challenges. Garment exporters anticipate new government facilities to enhance global competitiveness, coupled with a focus on green growth, making Bangladesh a global leader in green garment factories.
BGMEA President Faruque Hassan expressed optimism, envisioning Bangladesh exporting $100 billion worth of garment items by 2030 through diversified products and markets. He urged for adequate gas and power supply, streamlined customs processes, and reduced bureaucracy to facilitate ease of doing business.