Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- Bangladesh has made a routine payment of US$522 million to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) against imports during July-August this year, the central bank officials said Sunday.

The payment pushed the foreign exchange reserve down to $8.643 billion Sunday from $9.149 billion of the previous day, they confirmed.

“The central bank has already remitted the fund to the ACU headquarters in Tehran in line with the existing provision of the eight-member union,’ a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said.

Under the existing provisions, outstanding import bills and interest accruing against thereof are settled at the end of every two months among the member countries.

“Our imports from the ACU member countries increased a little bit during the period under review due mainly to the holy month of Ramadan,” the BB official said, adding that India is the main trading partner under the ACU arrangement.

A total of $468 million was paid for the May-June period of this year, he added.

The country’s foreign exchange reserve would reach at around $9.0 billion shortly after receiving $106 million more from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Washington-based multilateral donor agency would provide additional $105 million shortly to bolster the country’s foreign exchange reserve in the wake of the global economic recession, the BB officials added.

The IMF has released first chunk of funds worth $630 million recently as part of the special drawing rights (SDR) allocation, which has been made to all 186 IMF members.

“We expect that the foreign exchange reserve would stay at around $9.0 billion even after making payment to the ACU,” Deputy Governor of the BB Ziaul Hassan Siddiqui said on September 1 last.

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

The union started its operations in November 1975 to boost trade relations among the member countries. Bangladesh and Myanmar joined the union as the sixth and the seventh members in 1976 and 1977 respectively.

However, Bhutan joined the ACU on December 9, 1999.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-07September09-1:57 am (BST)