Chittagong port

Chittagong port of Bangladesh

Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– Bangladesh’s overall imports increased by 11.99 per cent or US$391.24 million in December following higher import of food grains and fuel oils, officials said.

The settlement of letters of credit (LCs), generally known as actual import, in term of value, rose to $3.65 billion in December 2017 from $3.26 billion in the same period of the previous calendar year, according to the central bank’s latest statistics.

The actual import was $4.11 billion in November 2017.

Talking to the BBN, senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said the overall imports increased during the period under review mainly due to higher import of food grains particularly rice and wheat.

He also said higher import of petroleum products has pushed up overall import payment expenditures.

The rice import rose to $190.28 million in December 2017 from only $1.09 million a year before while wheat import stood at $103.52 million from $87.71 million, the BB data showed.

However, the import of food grains particularly rice may fall slightly in the coming months due to seasonal effect, the central banker hinted.

On the other hand, the import of petroleum products, however, rose to $263.98 million in the month of December last calendar year from $169.36 million in the same month of 2016.

“The upward trend of fuel oils import may continue in the near future,” another BB official said.

Demand for the petroleum products may rise in the coming months to meet extra pressure on the products for irrigation purposes across the country, the central banker explained.

However, back-to-back import for readymade garment (RMG) accessories came down to $565.26 million in December last from $630.70 million a year ago despite higher export earnings from the apparel products.

On the other hand, import of capital machinery — industrial equipment used for production – came down to $263.48 million in December 2017 as against $292.40 million in the same month of 2016.

The imports of capital machinery may increase in the coming months following implementation of different infrastructure projects including Padma Bridge, according to the BB officials.

Meanwhile, opening of fresh LCs, generally known as import orders, rose by 2.05 per cent or $78.15 per cent to $3.89 billion in December last from $3.81 billion a year ago.

The country’s overall import orders recorded an all-time high of $ 16.10 billion in November 2017 while LC of a large amount was opened for setting up Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).

Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) opened the LC worth $ 11.38 billion through the state-owned Sonali Bank Limited to import different items, including capital machinery, to build the plant, they added.