Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) -The central bank of Bangladesh sold US$12 million to the state-owned Sonali Bank Limited on Wednesday for settlement of their import bills for food grains, officials said.

“We’ve sold the US currency at market rate to the SCB on the day directly to meet the growing demand for the greenback,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, told BBN in Dhaka.

The US dollar was quoted at BDT80.30- BDT 80.40 in the inter-bank foreign exchange market on the day against BDT79.90- BDT 80.30 of the previous working day, according to the central bank statistics.

The central banker also said the BB has stepped up foreign currency support to the banks to settle outstanding letters of credit (LCs) against imports of fuels, fertilizer and power plant equipment.

The country’s foreign exchange reserve stood at around $9.32 on Wednesday after the sale of $12 million by the central bank to the bank, the BB official added.

The BB has so far pumped in $624 million directly to the commercial banks to meet their increasing demand for the greenback in the current fiscal year, the central bank official added.

“Such operation will continue in line with the market requirement,” he said, adding that the central bank is monitoring the overall market situation closely.

BBN/SSR/AD-14Dec11-11:16 pm (BST)