Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh has made a routine payment of nearly US$1.0 billion to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) against imports during January-February period of the current calendar year, officials said on Sunday.
The payment pushed the country’s foreign exchange reserve down to $10.31 billion Sunday from $11.23 billion of the previous working day, they confirmed.
“It was ever highest ACU payment in the history of Bangladesh. The central bank has already 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), the country’s central bank, told BBN in Dhaka.
The amount of payment rose to $994 million in the last instalment from $909 million earlier mainly due to increased imports of the country from other ACU member countries, according to the central bank statistics. 
Under the existing provisions, outstanding import bills and interest accruing thereof are settled at the end of every two months among the member countries.
The central bank official also said Bangladesh is importing different consumer items and raw materials from the ACU member countries, particularly from India to meet the growing demand in the local market.
“India is our main trading partner under the ACU arrangement,” he said, adding Bangladesh has imported different commodities including food grains and consumer items from India.
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 relations 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 on December 9, 1999, and the Maldives from January 2010.
BBN/SI/AD-06Mar11-8:33 pm (BST)