DHAKA, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Bangladesh's exports increased 10.93 percent on the year in November, rising for a fifth month, reflecting strong demand for readymade garments in the second half of the current year.
From March through June, Bangladesh's monthly exports were lower than the previous year as the global slowdown weighed on demand. But overseas sales have since picked up, with a 4.36 percent rise in the July-November period, the Export Promotion Bureau said on Tuesday.
Garments account for 80 percent of Bangladesh's exports and the industry, which supplies garments to global retailers, has been in the spotlight since a fire that killed at least 112 people last month.
In November, exports of ready-made garments were $1.36 billion, compared with $1.24 billion in the same month of 2011. For the five months ended in November, garment exports totalled $7.99 billion, 5.7 percent more than a year earlier.
However, exporters said growth in garment sales in the current fiscal year that ends in June 2013 would likely be 10 percent less than last year's figures due to the slowdown in global economy.
The industry employs 3.6 million people and more than four times that number are dependent on the sector for their livelihoods.
Working conditions in the factories are notoriously poor, with little enforcement of safety laws. Overcrowding and locked fire doors are not uncommon. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)