Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh made a routine payment of US$760 million to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) against imports during the November-December period of the last calendar year, officials said on Saturday.

After the payment, the country’s foreign exchange (forex) reserve came down to $17.53 billion on Thursday from $18.24 billion on the previous working day, according to the central bank statistics.
“The central bank has already remitted the fund to the ACU headquarters in Tehran in line with the existing provisions of the nine-member 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.

He also said the amount of payment dropped to $760 million in the last installment from $ 890 million earlier mainly due to lower imports from the ACU member countries.  “We’re importing different consumer items, 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.

BBN/SSR/AD-11Jan14-9:13 pm (BST)