Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh’s imports grew by 5.36 per cent in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year (FY), 2018-19, following higher imports of intermediate goods and fuel oils, officials said.
The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LCs) rose to US$45.79 billion during the July-April period of FY’19 from $43.46 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank’s latest data.
However, the import growth during first 10 months showed a downward trend, they added.
The existing downward trend of imports may continue during the May-June period of this fiscal year, a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) predicted.
The overall import grew by 7.32 per cent and 9.04 per cent in the first nine and eight months of this fiscal respectively, the BB data showed.
Talking to the BBN, the BB official also said most of the businessmen maintain a ‘go-slow’ policy for placing new import orders in the months of May and June mainly due to the national budget.
The import may pick up after announcing the national budget, he added.
Echoing the central bank’s official, MA Halim Chowdhury, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO), of Pubali Bank Limited said the existing trend of overall import may continue till June because of the national budget.
Meanwhile, import of intermediate goods such as coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels etc, jumped by nearly 36 per cent to $4.65 billion during the period under review from $3.42 billion in the same period of FY ’18.
Different construction materials imported as intermediate goods for implementing particularly mega projects pushed up the overall import payments in the 10 months of this fiscal, the central banker added.
He also said mega infrastructure projects, including Padma Bridge, Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Dhaka Metro-Rail and Dhaka Elevated Expressway, have consumed the lion share of intermediate goods.
Higher import of petroleum products also pushed up the overall import expenses during the period under review, according to another BB official.
Import of petroleum products including Liquefied natural gas (LNG) soared by 24.43 per cent to $3.22 billion in the 10 months of FY’19 from $2.60 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
Talking to the BBN, the BB official said the existing upward trend in fuel oil import may continue in the coming months following diversified use of the gasoline products, particularly for power generation.
Currently, around 50 power plants, out of a total of 129 plants across the country, are now running on high sulfur fuel oil (HSFO), generally known as furnace oil.
Earlier on May 22, the central bank of Bangladesh doubled the deferred payment period for import of raw materials only for the power generating enterprises to help ease the pressure on foreign exchange market.
On the other hand, the import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production, decreased by 10.63 per cent to $3.93 billion during the July-April period of FY’19 from $4.40 billion, the BB data showed.
Industrial raw material import also rose by nearly 8.0 per cent to $16.29 billion during the period under review from $15.09 billion in the same period of FY ’18.
On the other hand, import of food grains, particularly rice and wheat, dropped by 54.48 per cent to $1.23 billion from $2.70 billion.
Import of consumer goods also slumped by 27.23 per cent to $4.83 billion during the period under review from $6.64 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
The import of consumer goods including food items may decrease further in the coming months following bumper production of boro croup, the BB officials predicted.
However, opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, dropped by 19.39 per cent to $48.95 billion during the July-April period of the FY ’19 from $60.73 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.