Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh’s overall imports grew by 11.25 per cent in the first-half (H1) of the current fiscal year (FY), thanks to a jump by nearly 60 per cent in import of capital machinery, officials said.
The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LCs) rose to $22.59 billion during the July-December period of FY 2016-17 from $20.30 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank’s latest statistics.
On the other hand, opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, increased by 9.30 per cent to $ 23.02 billion in the first six months of FY 17 from $21.06 billion a year ago.
Talking to BBN, a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said higher imports of capital machinery along with intermediate goods have pushed up the country’s overall imports during the period under review.
Import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production rose to $2.87 billion in the H1 of this fiscal year against $1.69 billion of the same period of FY 16.
He also said higher import, particularly for energy and power sectors, contributed to the rise in overall capital machinery import during the period under review.
The import of capital machinery for power and energy sectors jumped by nearly 250 per cent to $1.08 billion in the first six months of this fiscal from $309.83 million at the same time of the FY 16.
Besides, the capital machinery imports for apparel and clothing sector, pharmaceuticals, food processing and ship building industries increased significantly in the H1 of FY 17 compared to the same period of the previous fiscal, the central banker explained.
“The overall capital machinery imports may increase further in the near future following implementation of different mega projects in Bangladesh,” Golam Hafiz Ahmed, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Credit and Commerce (NCC) Bank Limited, told BBN in Dhaka.
Currently, the government is implementing nine projects under a Fast Track Project Monitoring Committee, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for quick implementation.
He also said the import of capital machinery increases as hi-tech is being adopted particularly in the country’s apparel and clothing sector for reduction of their production costs.
Besides, most of readymade garment (RMG) exporters are now going to expansion of their factories or BMRE (balancing, modernisation, rehabilitation and expansion) of their existing ones to meet the growing demand for apparel products in the global market, the senior banker noted.
Meanwhile, industrial raw material import grew by 4.92 per cent to $8.04 billion during the period under review from $7.66 billion in the same period of the FY 16.
During the period, import of machinery for miscellaneous industries witnessed a 7.11 per cent growth to $2.35 billion from $2.19 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
On the other hand, import of intermediate goods, like coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels, increased by 9.82 per cent to $1.83 billion in the first six months of this fiscal from $1.67 billion in the same period of the FY 16.
However, import of petroleum products dropped by 19.63 per cent to $1.16 billion during the July-December period of FY 17 from $1.44 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
The import of petroleum products fell during the period under review in terms of value, not quantity due to lower prices of the fuel oils in the global market, another BB official explained.
Import of consumer goods increased by 2.36 per cent to $2.39 billion during the H1 of this fiscal from $2.33 billion in the same period of the FY 16, the BB data showed.
Foodgrain imports, particularly of rice and wheat, dropped by nearly 7.0 per cent to $581.53 million during the period of the FY 17 from $625.18 million in the same period of the previous fiscal.
BBN/SSR/AD