Chittagong port

Chittagong port of Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Bangladesh’s overall trade deficit widened by nearly 109 per cent or US$ 3.02 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year (FY) because of higher import payments and comparatively lower export receipts, officials said.

The gap rose to US$ 5.79 billion during the July-October period of FY 2017-18 from $2.77 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the latest central bank statistics.

“The trade deficit widened significantly during the period under review mainly due to higher growth of import payments than export earnings,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told BBN in Dhaka.

Rising trend in prices of some essential commodities including petroleum products on the global market contributed to the higher import growth in the first four months of the FY 18, he explained.

Overall import costs increased by nearly 29 per cent to $17.14 billion during the period under review, from $13.32 billion in the corresponding period, the BB data showed.

The overall volume of imports bloated mainly due to higher import of food-grains, petroleum products and intermediate goods, according to the bankers.

On the other hand, the overall export earnings grew 7.63 per cent to $11.35 billion in the four months of the FY 18 against $10.54 billion in the same period of previous fiscal.

He also said higher trade deficit pushed down the current-account balance significantly, despite uptrend in inward remittances.

The country’s current-account deficit rose to $3.31 billion during the July-October period of the FY 18 from only $44 million in the same period of the previous fiscal.

The remittance inflow, however, increased 6.27 per cent to $4.45 billion in the four months of the FY 18 from $4.19 billion in the period of comparison.

However, the financial account reached a surplus of $2.67 billion in the first four months of the current fiscal year which was $1.72 billion in the same period of FY 17.

The gross inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) increased by 9.42 per cent to $1.15 billion during the period under review from $ 1.05 billion in the same period of FY 17.

Besides, net FDI inflow rose by 14.38 per cent to $ 716 million from $626 million.

However, the country’s overall balance of payments (BoP) slid to deficit of $225 million which was in a healthy surplus of $2.04 billion in the same period of FY 17.

BBN/SSR/AD