Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh has made a routine payment of US$1.36 billion to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) against imports during the November-December period of the last calendar year, officials said.

After the payment, the country’s foreign exchange (forex) reserve came down to $32 billion on Wednesday from $ 33.11 billion of the previous working day, according to the central bank latest statistics.

“We’ve already remitted the fund to the ACU headquarters in Tehran in line with the existing provisions of the union,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, told BBN in Dhaka.

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 amount of such payment rose to $1.36 billion the last installment from came down to $1.13 billion during the September-October period of the last year mainly due to higher imports from the ACU member countries, the BB data showed.

It was $1.19 billion during the July-August period of 2017.

He also said Bangladesh is importing different consumer items, cotton, raw materials and capital machinery from the ACU member countries, particularly from India.

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.

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