Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – The Bangladesh Taka (BDT) has depreciated by 15.55 per cent against the US dollar this calendar year mainly due to higher demand for the greenback for settling the outstanding import bills, particularly those of fuel oil, officials said on Thursday.

“Higher pressures for import of fuel oils have been one of the major factors for depreciation of the local currency, to a marked extent, against the US dollar,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank said, adding that net petroleum products import cost has been estimated around US$6.80 billion for the current fiscal year (FY) against $3.60 billion of the previous fiscal.

The US dollar was quoted at BDT 81.95-BDT 81.99 in the inter-bank foreign exchange (forex) market on December 29, the last working day of this calendar year against BDT 70.93-BDT 70.95 on January 02, 2011, the first working day of the year, according to the central bank statistics.

“The petroleum products import cost will be doubled FY’12 while the inflow of the US currency has not been increasing significantly,” the BB official said while explaining the short supply of the greenback in the market.

The BB official, however, said the BDT has depreciated at a lower level against the US dollar than that of the Indian Rupee. The Indian Rupee has depreciated against the greenback by around 23 per cent during the outgoing calendar year, he added.

A senior treasury official of leading commercial bank said widening of the country’s overall external trade deficit and slow growth of inward remittances have contributed to a lower level of supply of the US currency in the market.

“Lower inflow of foreign assistance is also responsible the short supply of the greenback to the market,” the treasury official added.

The local currency depreciated by over 15 per cent against the US dollar during the period under review at the customer level to open letters of credit (LCs) against import.

The average exchange rate of US dollar rose to BDT 82.1667 for bills for collection (BC) last Thursday from BDT 71.3244 on January 02 this year, according to the statistics available from Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers Association (BAFEDA).

BBN/SSR/AD-30Dec11-1:16 am (BST)