Chittagong port

Chittagong port of Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh’s overall imports dropped by 8.40 per cent or US$315.20 million in September despite higher import of food-grains to cool an overheated local market.

The settlement of letters of credit (LC), generally known as actual import, in terms of value came down to $3.44 billion in September 2017 from $3.75 billion a month before, according to the central bank’s latest statistics. The actual imports were worth $2.98 billion in September 2016.

“The overall import may fall in the coming months as the opening of fresh LCs dropped significantly in the month of September,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told BBN in Dhaka.

The opening of fresh LCs, generally known as import orders, dropped by 22.36 per cent or $1.14 billion to $3.96 billion in September last from $5.10 billion in August 2017. It was $3.53 billion in September last calendar year.

The overall imports decreased slightly in the month of September mainly due to lower back-to-back imports for readymade garment (RMG) products and fuel oils, the central banker explained.

“The imports of rice and wheat increased significantly during the period for the urgency of catering a growing demand for the food items on the local market,” he noted.

The rice import increased by 132.89 per cent or $112.19 million to $196.61 million during the period under review from $84.42 million a month ago. It was only $0.82 million in September 2016.

On the other hand, the import of wheat rose by 28.88 per cent or $18.66 million to $83.27 million in September from $64.61 million a month before.

The BB official also said the upward trend in import of food-grains covering rice and wheat may continue in the coming months to ensure the prices of main staple stable in the local markets through boosting its supply.

The government along with the central bank had taken different measures to encourage the importers to import more rice to meet the growing demand.

However, the back-to-back import of RMG accessories dropped by 15.49 per cent or $98.77 million to $538.89 million in September from 637.66 million a month before despite higher export earnings from the apparel products.

The import of petroleum products, however, dropped 34.71 per cent or $85.51 million to $160.86 million this past September from $246.37 million a month before due to seasonal effect.

On the other hand, import of capital machinery — industrial equipment used for production — remained almost stable at $220.59 million in September 2017 as against $220.18 million in the month of August this calendar year.

The officials believe that the imports of capital machinery may increase further in the months ahead following implementation of different infrastructure projects including Padma Bridge.