Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh has made a routine payment of US$1.15 billion to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) against imports during the January-February period of 2019.

After the payment, the foreign exchange (forex) reserve fell to $ 31.36 billion on Wednesday from $ 32.39 billion of the previous working day, according to the central bank officials.

Talking to the BBN, a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said the country will be able to settle around five months of import bills with the existing forex reserve.

The forex reserve position maintained the level despite selling of the US currency to the banks continuously for settling their import payment obligations, he noted.

Since July 01 of the current fiscal year, the central bank has sold $ 1.70 billion to the commercial banks as part of its ongoing support, he added.

The central bank of Bangladesh is providing foreign currency support to help banks foot import payment bills, particularly for oil, capital machinery for power plants, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and fertiliser.

Meanwhile, the amount of ACU payment came down to $ 1.146 billion during the period under review from $ 1.148 billion earlier mainly due to lower imports from the ACU member countries, particularly from India.

Bangladesh is importing different consumer items, cotton, raw materials and capital machinery from the ACU member countries, particularly from India, according to the officials.

“We’ve already remitted the fund to the ACU headquarters in Tehran in line with the existing provisions of the union,” another BB official told the BBN.

Under the existing provisions, outstanding import bills and interests thereof are to be paid at the end of every two months among the member countries.

The ACU is an arrangement involving Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, through which intraregional transactions among the participating central banks are settled on a multilateral basis.