Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Bangladesh’s overall imports grew by nearly 39 percent with food grains marking the highest rise at 133.30 percent in fiscal 2010-11 (FY11) over those of the previous fiscal, officials said.

The value of letters of credit (LCs) against imports worth US$ 31.952 billion was settled in FY11 compared to $23.053 billion in the previous fiscal, according to the central bank statistics.

“The country’s overall imports increased substantially in FY11 mainly because of higher level of import of food grains,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told BBN in Dhaka.

The import of food grains stood at $1.993 billion in the last fiscal year as against $854.51 million in FY10, while other consumer goods rose to $1.770 billion from $1.737 billion, the central bank data showed.

The BB official also said import of other essential items including petroleum products, industrial raw materials and capital machinery also increased significantly in the last fiscal to meet the domestic demand.

Petroleum products import increased by 38.73 percent to $3.177 billion in FY11 from $2.290 billion of the previous fiscal year.

“The rising trend of fuel oils import may continue in the near future to meet the growing demand for oil-based power plants,” another BB official said.

Currently, around one dozen oil-based power plants are operating across the country.

Besides, installation of more than a dozen of such power plants is under process to resolve power crisis by the end of 2012, power and energy ministry officials said.

However, import of industrial raw materials witnessed a 46.63 percent growth to $12.194 billion in the last fiscal against $8.316 billion previously while the import of industrial spares and accessories was worth $2.845 billion compared to $2.089 billion.

Import of capital machinery — industrial equipment used for production — was up by 40.20 percent to $2.046 billion in FY11 as against $1.459 billion of the previous fiscal.

“The rising trend of capital machinery imports will continue if the government ensures adequate supplies of gas and power, particularly in the industrial units,” the central bank official added.

He also said installing more power plants will push up the import of capital machinery in the coming months.

Import of intermediate goods like coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels increased by 1.79 per cent to $2.087 billion in the last fiscal from $2.051 billion in FY10.

BBN/SSR/AD-03Aug11-11:36 am (BST)