The current economic developments in Bangladesh, particularly in its apparel industry and regarding foreign reserves, reveal a mix of past growth and current challenges.
- Apparel Industry Growth: Over the past decade, Bangladesh’s apparel industry has seen significant growth. From 2011 to 2019, Ready-Made Garment (RMG) exports from Bangladesh more than doubled, increasing from $14.6 billion to $33.1 billion, marking a compound annual growth rate of 7%.
- 2023 Slowdown in Apparel Industry: However, 2023 presents a downturn for this key sector. A global slowdown is anticipated to heavily impact Bangladesh’s garment industry, with export growth expected to fall by approximately 3 percentage points. This reduction is attributed to a deceleration in global clothing demand, which is set to add pressure on Bangladesh’s GDP and its dwindling foreign exchange reservess.
- Wage Protests and Increases: The Bangladeshi government announced a 56% increase in the monthly minimum wage for garment workers, raising it to $113 from the previous $75. Despite this increase, workers have continued to protest, demanding further wage increases. These protests have sometimes turned violent, with instances of vandalism and clashes with police.