Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– The country has made a payment of over US$597million to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) against imports during September-October period of the calendar year, officials said on Wednesday.

The payment pushed Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserve down to $10.84 billion on Wednesday, from $11.18 billion a day ago, officials at the Bangladesh Bank (BB) confirmed.
“The central bank has 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 central bank said, adding that Bangladesh is importing consumer items and raw materials from the ACU member countries, particularly from India, to meet its growing demand for essentials.

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.

The amount of payment came down to $597.50 million, from a high of $692 million earlier, mainly due to decreased imports from ACU member countries, the BB official added.

The ACU groups Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives 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 Burma, officially known as Myanmar, joined the union as the sixth and the seventh members in 1976 and 1977 respectively. Bhutan joined the ACU on December 9, 1999.

Late entrant Maldives became a member in January 2010.

BBN/SSR/AD-03Nov10-11:12 pm (BST)