(Reuters) – Bangladesh’s exports fell for the third month in a row in May, government figures showed on Sunday, as the euro zone debt crisis continued to subdue the country’s economy.
In May, exports plunged 4.17 percent from a year earlier to $2.199 billion, Export Promotion Bureau data showed. In April, exports fell 7.13 percent after a 7.23 percent decline in March.
Total exports for July-May, the first 11 months of the financial year, were up 7 percent from a year earlier, to nearly $21.98 billion. This indicated the South Asian country is unlikely to achieve its target for exports of $26.5 billion in the fiscal year that ends this month.
That target is 15 percent higher than the record $23 billion in exports in the last fiscal year.
In July-May, earnings from the crucial readymade garments sector rose 14.5 percent from a year earlier to $17.27 billion.
The government is targeting 7.2 percent economic growth for the coming fiscal year, up from 6.3 percent growth estimated for the current year, on hopes that exports will rebound in 2013.
In recent years, Bangladesh’s economy and exports have been boosted by a dramatic shift in global garment orders from China to lower-cost Bangladesh.
Garment export is one of economy’s most important drivers, along with remittances – money transferred home – from Bangladeshis working overseas.
Europe and the United States are Bangladesh’s main export destinations, accounting for almost 70 percent of its overseas sales of garments. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Pravin Char)