Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Bangladesh’s overall import fell drastically in February over that of the previous month of this calendar year due mainly to fewer working days, officials said. 
“The overall import situation is still at a satisfactory level,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said, adding that the import dropped slightly in February over that of January due to fewer working days.
He also said insufficient supply of the greenback was also responsible for lower import growth in February. 
Opening of letters of credit (LCs) against imports, generally known as import orders, decreased by over 31 per cent in the month over January. 
On the other hand, the settlement of LCs, generally known as actual imports, also dropped by 22.52 per cent in February, according to the central bank statistics. 
Opening of fresh LCs against imports came down to US$2.642 billion in February from $3.842 billion in January. Import LCs worth $2.426 billion were settled in February, compared to $3.132 billion in January, the BB data showed. 
Bankers, however, said the import dropped in February mainly due to liquidity crunch of both the US dollar and the local currency in the market.
“Most of the banks, particularly the private commercial banks (PCBs), are facing liquidity shortfall in the recent months due to higher credit growth than deposit,” a senior official of a commercial bank said. 
Credit growth of all 47 scheduled banks reached 29 per cent on February 3 on an average, while deposit growth stood at 22 per cent, according to the central bank statistics.
“The imports through the SCBs may increase in March, if the central bank continues providing foreign currency support to them,” the PCB official said.
He also said most of the PCBs are rather reluctant to finance in ‘unnecessary imports’ to align their credit and deposit growth within the BB-set timeframe.
The BB has set June 30 as the deadline for bringing down the credit deposit ratio (CDR) of the commercial banks to a reasonable level.
Under the directives, 19 PCBs will have to bring down their CDR to 85, while Shariah-based five Islamic banks to 90, by June 30 this year.
BBN/SSR/AD-08Mar11-5:19 pm (BST)