Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh’s overall imports grew by nearly 10 per cent in the first seven months of the current fiscal year (FY) 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$32.60 billion during the July-January period of FY 2018-19 from $29.65 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank’s latest data.
“The ongoing upward trend in import may continue in the coming months ahead of the holy Ramadan,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the BBN in Dhaka.
Opening of LCs for importing different consumer items are expected to rise from this month to meet the growing demand for the items during the holy Ramadan, he explained.
Usually, a large quantity of essential commodities is imported to meet the additional demand of consumers during the month of Ramadan.
Meanwhile, import of intermediate goods such as coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels etc, surged by 42.51 per cent to $3.30 billion during the period under review from $2.32 billion in the same period of FY ’18.
Talking to the BBN, another BB official said actually, construction materials, imported as intermediate goods, pushed up the overall import payments in the first seven months of FY’19.
Different mega infrastructure projects, including Padma Bridge and metro-rail, consumed the lion share of intermediate goods, he added.
Besides, higher import of fuel oils also pushed up the overall import expenses during the period under review, according to the central banker.
Import of petroleum products rose by 48.43 per cent to $2.43 billion in the first seven months of FY’19 from $1.64 billion in the same period of the FY’18.
“The ongoing upward trend in fuel oil import may continue in the coming months following diversified use of the gasoline products, particularly for power generation,” the BB official predicted.
On the other hand, the import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production, dropped by 6.28 per cent to $2.90 billion during the July-January period of FY’19 from $3.09 billion, the BB data showed.
Industrial raw material import also rose by 12.36 per cent to $11.59 billion during the period under review from $10.31 billion in the same period of FY ’18.
Meanwhile, import of food grains, particularly rice and wheat, dropped by 58.52 per cent to $815.22 million from $1.96 billion.
However, import of consumer goods also slumped by 32.68 per cent to $3.16 billion during the period under review from $4.70 billion in the same period of FY ’18, the BB data showed.
On the other hand, opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, dropped by more than 22 per cent to $35.44 billion during the period under review from $45.67 billion in the same period of FY ’18.
The period of FY ’18 seen higher import orders due to LCs for some mega projects including Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), according to the BB officials.
The country’s overall import orders recorded an all-time high of $16.10 billion in November 2017 while LC of a large amount was opened for setting up Rooppur NPP.
Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) opened the LC worth $11.38 billion through the state-owned Sonali Bank Limited to import different items, including capital machinery, to build the plant.