All is well, all is calm on the export front. Amid a global pandemic, exports brought home $3 billion in August -- 7.1 percent more than a year earlier.
August's receipts mean exports raked in $6.9 billion in the first two months of fiscal 2020-21, up about 3 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. It also beat the export target for the period by $68 million.
Garment, which accounts for about 84 percent of the export basket, is holding up well, too.
Apparel shipments brought home $2.5 billion in August, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier. August's receipts mean apparel shipments have comfortably surpassed the periodic target.
"Under the circumstances, exports have done quite well in August," said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of the Policy Research Institute.
However, the data should be viewed with caution.
Last year, the holidays for Eid-ul-Azha were in August, meaning production was on recess for a good chunk of the month. As a result, August last year's receipts were lower.
This year, the Eid holidays were staggered between July and August.
Besides, August's decent numbers should not be construed as growth has resumed.
The garment exporters have just finished meeting the backlog from the past few months, he said, adding that the new orders are not gushing in yet.
"The garment sector is still in recovery mode. It is still under the impact of COVID-19, just like the global economy," Mansur added.
Zahid Hussain, a former lead economist of the World Bank's Dhaka office, echoed the same.
One of the reasons August shipments have held steady is that the Christmas season, which is the peak selling season in the Western world, is around the corner.
"Our largest export markets, which are the EU and the US, are remaining in slowdown -- we must wait for the recovery of the world economy from the ongoing recession."
The new orders that are coming in now have a shorter lead time as the Western buyers are placing them belatedly for the Christmas season.
"Do the garment factories have the efficiency to work with the shorter deadline? Are our port and customs efficient enough to ship the consignments faster?"
Perhaps now is the time to increase the efficiency all around, Hussain added.
Other than garment, some small sectors like pharmaceuticals, agriculture, jute and jute goods witnessed positive growth in August.
Between July and August, earnings from agricultural products were up 32.6 percent to $178.3 million, jute and jute goods 49.6 percent to $195.4 million and home textile 43.9 percent to $168 million.
The country's pharmaceutical sector, which got much global publicity by way of Beximco, logged in 19 percent growth of $27.3 million.
Leather and leather goods, usually the next higher export earner after garment, saw its export receipts slump 16.5 percent year-on-year to $154.7 million during the July-August period.