Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserve (forex) fell below US$32 billion again on Wednesday following a regular payment to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) against imports, officials said.

The forex reserve came down to $31.92 billion on the day from $33.23 billion of the previous working day, according to the central bank’s latest statistics.

Earlier on March 08 last, the reserve was $31.93 billion after making ACU payment during the January-February period of this year from $33.49 billion of the previous working day.

Bangladesh has made the payment of $1.39 billion to the ACU against imports during the March-April period of the current calendar year, according to officials.

They also said the amount of ACU payment came to $1.39 billion during the period under review from $1.39 billion earlier mainly due to lower imports from the ACU member countries particularly from India.

Talking to the BBN, a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said lower rice imports from India have pushed down the overall import payment under the ACU arrangement during the period under review.

“We’re now importing different consumer items, cotton, raw materials and capital machinery from the ACU member countries, particularly from India, Pakistan and Bhutan,” the central banker added.

The BB has already remitted the fund to the ACU headquarters in Tehran in line with the existing provisions of the union, according to the official.

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

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.