Bangladesh's ready-made garment exports are continuing to soar, climbing nearly 18% in the first seven months of the current fiscal year according to the latest figures.

Apparel exports rose to US$14.17bn in the period from July to January, up from $12.04bn a year earlier - and exceeding targets of $13.4bn.

Woven garment exports grew by 17.3% to $7.18bn, from $6.12bn last year; while knitwear exports increased by 18.1% to $6.99bn from $5.92bn, according to statistics from the state-run Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).

An EPB senior official told just-style today (18 February) that exports are expected to continue to rise in coming months now that political stability has been restored following unrest linked to the parliamentary elections on 5 January.

The country's business activities were also hit by frequent blockades and shutdowns in the final few months of last year.

Demand for Bangladesh-made apparel is helped by the country's competitive prices, the EPB official explained, adding: "We're hopeful about achieving the export target by the end of this fiscal year, if the political stability continues." 

The government has set an export target of $30.5bn for fiscal year 2014, which began on 1 July.

Fazlul Hoque, former president of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), hopes export earnings will strongly rebound in coming months as buyers return now that the political situation has eased.