Bangladesh’s import payments grew 26.22 per cent or $7.44 billion in the first eight months of the fiscal year 2017-2018 against that of the same period in the previous fiscal year.
Total import (freight on board) during the July-February of fiscal year 2018 increased to $35.82 billion while the figure was $28.379 billion in July-February in the previous fiscal, a Bangladesh Bank data released on Thursday showed.
It also showed that the country’s total import FOB was $3.097 billion during the first eight months of FY17 that increased by 33.46 per cent or $1.16 billion to $4.644 billion during the same period of the current fiscal year.
Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh executive director Ahsan H Mansur said, ‘Government has been running a number of mega projects that might have resulted in higher import growth.’
‘On the other hand, there might be some money laundering among them,’ he said.
Ahsan also said that the higher growth of import and comparatively insignificant export growth has created a shor of imbalance in the economy.
On the other hand, BB officials said that the country’s total import increased during the ongoing fiscal mainly due to heavy
import of food items, mainly rice.
Rice import by the country increased substantially in the period amid crop losses, mainly boro paddy, in the flash floods last year in the country’s north-eastern haor areas and depleting public stocks as well as rising prices of staple in the domestic market.
Import of the staple food might slow down within one-and-a-half month when newly harvested rise would hit the market.
A higher growth in petroleum product import also contributed to the rise in import payments as petroleum product import grew by 21 per cent in the period due mainly to a price hike of the commodity in the international markets.
According to another data of the central bank, total letter of credit settlement for import in the first eight months of the FY18 increased by 13.39 per cent to $ 33.84 billion from $ 29.84 billion a year ago.
Of the import, LC settlement for food grains import, mainly rice and wheat, increased by 181.62 per cent to $ 2.20 billion from $ 0.78 billion during July-February of the fiscal year 2016-2017.
Apart from the food grains, petroleum import posted the second highest growth as import of the item increased to $1.93 billion in July-February this year from $1.59 billion during the same period a year ago.
Settlement of LCs for the import of industrial raw materials and others grew by 9.57 per cent and 9.17 per cent respectively, while the import of capital machinery post 0.13 per cent negative growth.
During the July-February period, opening of LCs also increased significantly 60.71 per cent to $ 50.20 billion year-on-year.
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