B’desh fears export nadir amid turmoil

Dhaka, October 11:

Businesses and policymakers in Bangladesh said last Saturday they fear that the global financial crisis might cause a slump in the country’s export earnings as its major export destinations are severely hit by the meltdown.

Businessmen said their buyers in Europe and the US have already started delaying new orders, and economists predict a higher fiscal deficit because of lower foreign capital inflow and external funding to the impoverished South Asian country.

More than 76 per cent, or $10 billon, of Bangladesh’s export earnings come through the sale of readymade garments.

“Many buyers are unusually delaying for their next orders while many others were asking for price cuts,” Fazlul Haq, president of Bangladesh’s Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association, told local media.

He added at least 60 per cent of garment shipments are made to European markets, so the financial turmoil there poses a serious threat to Bangladesh. Garment manufacturers said that the devaluation of the dollar, erratic power and gas supply and increased production costs have put them on the edge.

Economist and profesor at Dhaka University Atiur Rahman predicted a dismal drop in foreign aid and direct investment in Bangladesh.