Imports post 17pc rise in Q1

AKM Zamir Uddin | Published: 23:32, Nov 07,2016

 
 

Country’s import payments posted a 16.97-per cent increase in the first quarter of the current fiscal year (2016-17) against the 1.32-per cent rise registered in the corresponding period of the FY 2015-16.
According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, letters of credit involving $11.60 billion were settled in the July-September period of FY17 against $9.92 billion settled in the same period one year ago. The import payments had accounted for $9.79 billion in the first quarter of FY15.
A BB official told New Age on Monday that the settlement of LCs, or actual import payments, increased significantly in the July-September period of this fiscal year as the central bank had asked the banks not to keep LCs unsettled for long.
Observing that a number of banks were not settling LCs in due time, the BB in July issued letter to managing directors and chief executive officers of all banks asking them to settle the pending LCs in the shortest possible time.
For this reason, the banks settled their pending LCs in the months of August and September heavily that put a positive impact on the country’s overall import payment situation in the first quarter of FY17.
In the July-September period of FY17, import of industrial raw materials posted a growth of 11.33 per cent against a negative growth of 3.21 per cent in the corresponding period of FY16.
Settlement of LCs for industrial raw materials amounted to $4.03 billion in the first three months of the current fiscal year against $3.62 billion in the same period of FY16.
The BB data showed that settlement of LCs for capital machinery import in the first three months of the current fiscal year witnessed a 120.40-per cent growth against an 18.68-per cent growth in the same period a year ago.
Import payments for capital machinery in the July-September period of FY17 stood at $1.80 billion, which was $820.91 million in the same period of FY16.
The BB official said that the political unrest and uncertainty had recently eased that encouraged the businesspeople to import more capital machinery and industrial raw materials.
The businesspeople had earlier adopted a slow-go policy towards expanding their enterprises, but they have recently started expanding their business, he said.
He, however, said that the growth of capital machinery import was abnormally high in the first quarter of FY17 that gave rise to suspicions of money laundering.
There was no logical cause of the abnormal growth in the capital machinery import in the period, he said.
The import payment for the capital machinery maintained an upward trend even when the country’s business sector was facing a dull situation due to political turmoil, he said.
Settlement of LCs for petroleum products in the July-September period of FY17 registered a negative growth of 17.17 per cent against a negative growth of 52.17 per cent in the same period of FY16.
The import payment for the petroleum products stood at $498.18 million in the July-September period of FY17 against $601.42 million in the same period of FY16.
The BB official said the import of petroleum products showed a negative growth due to lower petroleum prices on the global market.
The BB data showed that opening of LCs posted a negative growth of 10.16 per cent in the July-September period of FY17, while it had witnessed a 9.75-per cent growth in the same period of FY16.
The BB data showed that the total value of the LCs opened in the country between July and September of FY17 was $10.77 billion, which was $9.77 billion in the same period of FY16. 

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