With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting demand, European and American buyers have called off roughly $1.5 billion of Bangladesh clothing orders. Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association President Rubana Huq said on LinkedIn that up to 1,089 clothing manufacturing facilities have seen orders become canceled, Bloomberg reported.
“I urge you all to kindly steer through this crisis together,” Huq said. “Let the production go on. In case of urgency, we can accept deferred payment.”
The worldwide number of coronavirus cases has increased twofold within a week, exceeding 300,000, with approximately 13,000 fatalities.
Although Bangladesh has only seen 27 cases, the called-off orders could greatly impact the economy. Garment factories employ more than four million people, and the industry comprises about 13 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Bangladesh, which is said to be the largest exporter of clothing outside of China, has been producing constant economic gains. Led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the country’s administration has supported policies that have bolstered per-capita income.
Huq said, per the report, “Brands who were partners last month have all turned into strangers. We call upon the international community to surface with a renewed pledge to support the workers of Bangladesh, if not just the businesses.”
In separate news, the overall number of employment positions that will be lost due to COVID-19 stands at approximately five million, per one estimate. The economic shortfall could reach up to $1.5 trillion throughout the United States, per numbers forecasted by experts, and a recession is expected to occur.
The effects of the downturn could rival – or even exceed – those of the housing crisis from 2007 to 2009, which brought about a recession. JPMorgan Economist Bruce Kasman said the shock would be meaningful, and the impact would be felt for a matter of months.