Bangladesh said Tuesday its exports leapt 42 percent to a record $23 billion in the financial year to June as garment shipments soared thanks largely to a shift in orders away from China.
In June the country shipped merchandise worth $2.39 billion -- the also a record for a month -- pushing the annual tally to $22.92 billion, with apparel making up more than 80 percent of the total, a government official said.
"It's an amazing figure. We had set a target to export $18.5 billion in the 2010-11 fiscal year, but achieved nearly $23 billion," said Jalal Ahmed, head of the Export Promotion Bureau in Dhaka.
Shipments in the 2009-10 fiscal year grew a modest four percent to $16.2 billion as apparel orders dried up due to the global recession.
Ahmed attributed the record growth to a shift in orders from increasingly costly China, relaxed import rules by the European Union and the recovery in the world economy.
"Wages in China are rising every year. It has become costlier for production of low-cost items. Many global retailers have turned their eyes on Bangladesh because our exporters can make apparel cheaper," he said.
In January, the EU allowed exports from the least developed countries including Bangladesh to have duty-free access to its markets without abiding by stringent sourcing rules.
"Since January, exports to the EU have surged by as much as 50 percent," Ahmed said.