Bangladesh exports $2.4 bln in April, 0.5 pct below year ago

DHAKA, May 12 (Reuters) – Bangladesh’s exports earned $2.4 billion in April, 0.55 percent less than a year earlier, falling for the first time since November, official data showed on Tuesday.

Exports from July to April, the first 10 months of the financial year, rose 2.6 percent from the same period a year earlier to more than $25 billion, 5.7 percent short of the target, the Export Promotion Bureau said.

Sales of ready-made garments, comprising knitwear and woven items, totalled $20.56 billion in the July-April period, compared with nearly $19.97 billion a year earlier.

Garments are a vital sector for the South Asian nation, whose low wages and duty-free access to Western markets have helped make it the world’s largest apparel exporter after China.

However, the sector has already been under pressure after industrial accidents, including the collapse of a building housing factories in April 2013 that killed more than 1,130 people.

Garment exporters cited violent political unrest for the decline as buyers held back orders fearing uncertainties. Violence however eased last month.

Bangladesh’s exports in the 2014-15 financial year are expected to rise 10 percent from a year earlier to $33.2 billion.

Garment exports for the current financial year have been targeted at $26.9 billion, up 10 percent from previous year’s $24.5 billion when clothing sales surged 14 percent.

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