Bangladesh (BBN)- Bangladesh’s overall import orders increased by more than 19 percent in April 2013 compared to the corresponding period of the previous year despite political unrest, officials said.
Opening of letters of credit (LCs) against imports, generally known as import orders, rose to US$ 3.32 billion in April, 2013 from $ 2.78 billion in the same month last year, according to the central bank statistics.
“We expect that the rising trend of overall imports may continue in the coming months,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said, adding that the lower exchange rate of the US dollar against the Bangladesh Taka (BDT) and availability of the greenback have contributed to the increase in the overall import orders. 
On the other hand, the settlement of LCs, generally known as actual imports, increased by over 2.0 per cent to $ 2.75 billion in April 2013 from $ 2.68 billion in the same period of the last year, the BB data showed.
The country’s overall import orders, however, came down to $ 3.32 billion in April last from $ 3.49 billion in March 2013 while the actual imports rose to $ 2.75 billion from $ 2.73 billion.
“The import orders for different essential products including fuel oil, capital machinery and back-to-back imports for readymade garment (RMG) increased substantially during the period under review,” the central banker noted.
The import orders for capital machinery increased by 89.31 percent to $ 212.54 million in the month of April last from $ 112.27 million in April 2012.
The BB official also said the capital machinery import orders for the apparel and clothing sector, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications have increased in the recent months.
However, the actual import of capital machinery also rose to $ 158.28 million in April this year from $ 137.99 million in April ’12.
The import orders for petroleum products increased by 62.78 percent to $ 527.41 million in the month of April this year from $ 325.23 million one year ago while the opening of back-to-back LCs for RMG products including fabrics and accessories rose to $ 516.96 million in April 2013 from $ 454.17 million in April 2012.
“The import may fall in June mainly due to announcement of the national budget,” a senior official of a leading private commercial bank (PCB) said, adding that the banks are now interested to invest in different sectors including trade financing for utilising their increased supply of foreign exchange.
BBN/SSR/AD-26May13-10:40 am (BST)