Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Bangladesh made a routine payment of more than US$1.0 billion to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) against imports during the January-February period of the current calendar year, officials said.

After the payment, the country’s foreign exchange (forex) reserve came down to $22.13 billion on Thursday from $ 23.07 billion of the previous working day, according to the central bank statistics.

“The central bank has remitted the fund to the ACU headquarters in Tehran in line with the existing provision of the nine-member union,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told BBN in Dhaka.

Under the existing provisions, outstanding import bills and interest accruing thereof are to be paid at the end of every two months.

The central banker also said the amount of payment increased to over $1.0 billion in the last instalment from around $900 million earlier mainly due to mainly due to higher imports from ACU member countries.
“We’re importing different items and raw materials from the ACU member countries, particularly from India to meet the demand for the commodities in the local market,” the BB official noted.

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

The union started its operations in November 1975 to boost trade among the member countries. Bangladesh and Myanmar joined the union as the sixth and the seventh members in 1976 and 1977 respectively. Bhutan joined the ACU in December 1999 and the Maldives in January 2010.

BBN/SSR/AD-06Mar15-7:40 am (BST)