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Last Updated: Monday, 20 September, 2004, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Textiles boost Bangladesh exports
Textile worker in Bangladesh
Some textile factories were forced to close after recent floods
Bangladesh reported a jump in exports in July, boosted by strong demand for clothing and other textiles.

Exports rose by 28% to $868.1m (487m) during the month, led by sales to Europe where the stronger euro helped Bangladeshi exporters.

The country's Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) said Bangladesh was on target to reach total annual exports of $8.56bn.

But manufacturers expressed doubts that Bangladesh could achieve this goal, following recent heavy floods.

Flood damage

More than half of Bangladesh was under water in July as the worst floods in 15 years took the lives of at least 600 people and caused $7bn worth of damage.

Bangladesh's knitwear exports grew almost 48% to around $280m in July, while exports of woven garments rose by 18% to $402m, the state-run EPB reported.

"We expect the higher export trend to last through the year - at least until December, and that should help Bangladesh substantially to achieve its target," EPB director Farid Hossain said.

But some textile exporters expressed scepticism about whether Bangladesh would meet its export target for the year to June 2005.

"Certainly, exports will fall in August and maybe in next few months as the floods forced many textile factories to shut for weeks, and damaged equipment and raw materials," said Quazi Moniruzzaman, the ex-president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

The European Union's policies on duty-free access for Bangladeshi goods and the strength of the euro compared to the dollar had helped to bolster trade with Europe, said Mr Moniruzzaman.

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