Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The country’s overall import recorded a rise by over 20 per cent in December over the previous month of last calendar year, officials said on Sunday.

The settlement of letters of credit (LCs) for imports, generally known as actual imports, rose to US$2.071 billion in December 2009 from $1.717 billion in November last year, according to the central bank statistics.

“The overall imports have increased to meet the growing demand of the essential items including fertilizer and petroleum products during the ongoing boro cultivation season,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said.

On the other hand, opening of fresh LCs against imports, generally known as import orders, fell by nearly 16 per cent to $1.979 billion during the period over the previous month of the current year.

Bankers said the import orders of essentials may rise in the month of January due to increase in demand for the items particularly fertilizer, edible oil and wheat in the local market.

“The overall import orders in term of value may rise this month as rising trend of prices of commodities including food and edible oil in the global market,” a senior official of a private commercial bank told BBN in Dhaka.

Imports of essentials including wheat, sugar and onion increased in terms of both quantity and value in December over the previous month, according to the BB officials.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-11Januaey 10-1:40 am (BST)