Echoing lower global demand for apparel, cotton imports to Bangladesh fell 21% in the 2011/12 fiscal year, which ran to the end of June.
Apparel orders have fallen from the US and EU. Buyers have also looked to diversify beyond Bangladesh, partly due to labor unrest and raw materials supply issues in the energy sector. Buyers have looked to China as India as potentially more expensive but also more reliable alternatives.
Mills have had to slash production over the last year due to insufficient natural gas supplies, according to Feroz Ahmed, secretary general of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association, as quoted in just-style.
Bangladesh cotton production lags behind demand, and the country imports an estimated 4 million bales of cotton each year. As a result, national textile production is highly subject to global market fluctuations.