The country’s trade deficit increased by 25 per cent to $4.51 billion in the first half of the current financial year 2016-17 compared with that of $3.60 billion in the corresponding period of the FY16.
The deficit increased during the period due to lower export earning growth against higher import payments.
According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, the export earnings posted a 4.33-per cent growth in the July-December period of the FY17 from that in the same period a fiscal year ago.
The export earnings stood at $16.41 billion in the first six months of the FY17 while the earnings were $15.72 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
The imports registered a growth of 8.19 per cent in the July-December period from that in the same period of the FY16.
The import payment stood at $20.92 billion in the first half of the FY17 while it was $19.33 billion in the corresponding period a year ago.
A BB official told New Age on Thursday that the country’s export earnings posted a slow growth in H1 because of slowing earnings from major markets like US and UK.
He said that the import payments mainly increased in the recent months of this fiscal year as the central bank earlier asked the banks not to keep LCs unsettled for long.
Observing that a number of banks are not settling LCs in due time, the BB has recently issued a 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 heavily settled their pending LCs in the first five months of this fiscal year that eventually increased the overall import payments during the period.
The current account balance, the gap between export receipts and net earnings in services including remittances and import payments and profit repatriation by multinationals and local people, registered a deficit amount of $793 million in the first six months of the FY17 from a surplus amount of $1.85 billion in the same period a fiscal year ago.
The BB official said that the higher import payment and lower inward remittances had put an adverse impact on the country’s current account balance.
The BB data showed that the country’s inward remittance posted a negative growth of 17.66 per cent in the July-December period of the FY17 from that in the same period a financial year ago.
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