Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh has made a routine payment of US$987 million to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) against imports during the September-October period of this calendar year.

After the payment, foreign exchange (forex) reserves fell to $31.60 billion on Thursday from $32.60 billion on the previous working day, according to the central bank officials.

“We’ll be able to settle import bills for more than five months with existing forex reserves,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the BBN in Dhaka.

He also said the central bank of Bangladesh has already remitted the fund to the ACU headquarters in Tehran in line with the existing provisions of the union.

Under the existing provisions, outstanding import bills and interest thereof are to be paid by the member countries at the end of every two months.

He also said the amount of ACU payment came down to $987 million during the period under review from $1.04 billion earlier mainly due to lower imports from the ACU member countries, particularly from India.

Bangladesh is now importing different consumer items, cotton, raw materials and capital machinery from the ACU member countries, especially from neighbouring India, the central banker added.

The ACU is an arrangement involving Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives through which intraregional transactions among the participating central banks are settled on a multilateral basis.

The union started its operation in November 1975 to boost trade among the member countries. Bangladesh and Myanmar joined the union as the sixth and seventh members in 1976 and 1977 respectively. Bhutan joined the ACU in December 1999 and the Maldives in January 2010.