That dollar amount reflects an 8.4% increase since 2016 but a -11.9% downtick from 2019 to 2020.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2020, the Bangladeshi taka depreciated by -8.2% against the US dollar since 2016 and declined by -0.5% from 2019 to 2020. The weaker local currency in Bangladesh makes its exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively less expensive for international buyers.
Bangladesh’s biggest exports are highly concentrated. Clothing or accessories whether or not knitted or crocheted, generated 85.4% of total exports from the densely populated Asian nation.
Given Bangladesh’s population of 164.7 million people, its total $41.3 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $250 for every resident in the South Asian country.
Bangladesh’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Bangladeshi global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Bangladesh.
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$18.7 billion (45.2% of total exports)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $16.6 billion (40.2%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $1.2 billion (2.8%)
- Footwear: $998.9 million (2.4%)
- Paper yarn, woven fabric: $728.8 million (1.8%)
- Fish: $461.8 million (1.1%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $305.4 million (0.7%)
- Headgear: $288.6 million (0.7%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $139.7 million (0.3%)
- Feathers, artificial flowers, hair: $133.9 million (0.3%)
Bangladesh’s top 10 exports are mostly focused on apparel products, accounting for 95.6% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes represent the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 37.2% from 2019 to 2020.
In second place for improving export sales was feathers, artificial flowers and hair via a 22.9% gain.
Bangladesh’s shipments of miscellaneous textiles including worn clothing posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 10% annually.
The leading decliner among Bangladesh’s top 10 export categories were articles of clothing made from leather or animal gut via a -19.1% drop year over year.
In 2020, Bangladesh’s most valuable exported products were knitted or crocheted t-shirts and vests (14%), unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits including trousers (13.9%), knitted or crocheted jerseys or pullovers (12%), unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (11.3%), knitted or crocheted women’s clothing (5.9%), unknitted and crocheted men’s shirts (4.5%), knitted or crocheted women’s underwear and pajamas (2.4%), knitted or crocheted infant clothing (2.2%), unknitted and non-crocheted men’s coats and jackets (also 2.2%), and knitted or crocheted men’s shirts (2.1%).
The following types of Bangladeshi product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$18.7 billion (Down by -9.9% since 2019)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $16.5 billion (Down by -15.5%)
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $1.1 billion (Up by 8.3%)
- Footwear: $780.6 million (Down by -16.8%)
- Paper yarn, woven fabric: $540.2 million (Up by 17.1%)
- Fish: $418.1 million (Down by -8.2%)
- Headgear: $268.1 million (Down by -15.1%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $266.7 million (Down by -18.2%)
- Feathers, artificial flowers, hair: $107.9 million (Up by 55.4%)
- Tobacco, manufactured substitutes: $91.5 million (Down by -8.3%)
Bangladesh has highly positive net exports in the international trade of apparel. In turn, these cashflows indicate Bangladesh’s strong competitive advantages under the two leading product categories.
Overall Bangladesh incurred an estimated -$5.1 billion trade deficit during 2020, decreasing by -53.4% from -$10.9 billion one year earlier.
Below are exports from Bangladesh that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Bangladesh’s goods trail Bangladeshi importer spending on foreign products.
- Cotton: -US$4.8 billion (Down by -24.8% since 2019)
- Machinery including computers: -$4.7 billion (Down by -19.1%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$3.6 billion (Down by -41.1%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$3.3 billion (Down by -1.8%)
- Iron, steel: -$2.4 billion (Down by -18.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.9 billion (Down by -16%)
- Cereals: -$1.7 billion (Up by 3%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: -$1.32 billion (Down by -2.9%)
- Manmade staple fibers: -$1.31 billion (Down by -24.8%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$1.2 billion (Up by 0.5%)
Bangladesh has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for machinery, notably computers and knitting including stitch-bonding machines.
Bangladeshi Export Companies
Not one Bangladeshi corporation ranks among Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia does list a number of exporters located in Bangladesh. Selected examples are shown below.
- Advanced Chemical Industries (pharmaceuticals, consumer brands, agribusiness)
- ASM Chemical Industries (industrial chemicals)
- Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (oil products)
- Beximco Pharma (pharmaceuticals)
- Dragon Group (clothing, notably sweaters)
- Kazi Farms Group (poultry)
- KDS Group (garments, textiles, steel)
- Petrobangla (oil, natural gas, minerals)
- Pragoti (automobiles)
- Walton (motorcycles)
In macroeconomic terms, Bangladesh’s total exported goods represent 4.3% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($966.5 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 4.3% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2020 compares to 5.5% for 2019. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Bangladesh’s total economic performance albeit, based on a short timeframe.
Another critical economic indicator is a country’s unemployment rate. In 2020, the average unemployment rate for Bangladesh was 5.3%. That percentage represents an increase from 4.2% one year earlier, according to Trading Economics.
Bangladesh’s capital city is Dhaka, formerly called Dacca and the country’s largest city in terms of population and geographic area.
See also Bangladesh’s Top 10 Imports and Top Asian Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook report on South Asia: Bangladesh. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Foreign Trade, United States Census Bureau. Accessed on June 7, 2021
International Monetary Fund, Exchange Rates selected indicators (National Currency per U.S. dollar, period average). Accessed on June 7, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 7, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Wikipedia, Bangladesh. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Wikipedia, Category:Companies of Bangladesh. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Bangladesh. Accessed on June 7, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on June 7, 2021