Import payments in April increased by 17.43 per cent year-on-year due to a rise in payment of bills for food products imported to meet the demand for the items in the upcoming Ramadan, the fasting month for the Muslims.
According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, the total import bill payments stood at $3.54 billion in April this year, while the figure was $3.02 billion in the same month of 2016.
The businesspeople are now also importing industrial raw materials as political uncertainty in the country eased in recent months.
The imports of sugar, dates, edible oil, red lentils, onions and ginger rose significantly in April as the demand for the commodities usually rises in Ramadan, a BB official said.
The import payments for pulses, however, decreased in April, but its import volume increased, the BB data showed.
The import of sugar and edible oil increased to $47.34 million and $129.38 million respectively in April, 2017 from $7.69 million and $107.18 million in April, 2016, the BB data showed.
The import payments for dates and red lentils in April, 2017 increased to $1.05 million and $24.83 million respectively from $0.25 million and $15.01 million in the same month of 2016.
The import payments for ginger in April, 2017 rose to $3.75 million from $2.62 million in the same month of 2016.
The import payments for onions slightly decreased to $11.86 million in April, 2017 from $11.91 million during the same month of 2016 while the import volume of the food products increased to 9.50 crore tonnes from 8.43 tonnes.
A BB official told New Age on Wednesday that the kitchen markets would not face any supply crisis as the businesspeople imported adequate amounts of the essential commodities to meet the increased demand for the items during Ramadan.
Moreover, the import of garment industry-related products and petroleum products also increased in last month.
The imports of back-to-back products (fabrics, accessories and other materials) for the garment sector and petroleum increased to $567.68 million and $245.95 million respectively in April, 2017 from $543.55 million and $114.92 million in April last year.
The global prices of the petroleum products recently increased that played a role in increasing the payments
for the imported items, the official said.
The imports of capital machinery, however, decreased to $293.34 million in April this year from $329.25 million in the corresponding month a year ago.
The BB data showed that the opening of letters of credit, also known as actual import orders, posted a 22.89-per cent growth in April this year from that in the same month of 2016.
The higher growth in opening of LCs means that the imports would increase more in the coming months, the BB official said.
In April this year, LCs worth $4.01 billion were opened by the banks against LCs worth $3.27 billion opened in the same month of 2016.
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