Country’s import payments topped $51.5 billion with a 16.39-per cent growth in last fiscal year of 2017-2018 amid increased payments for food grains and petroleum imports.
As per Bangladesh Bank data, letters of credit worth $51.53 billion were settled in FY18 against $44.27 billion in FY17.
The total payment for import, however, would have been much higher in FY18 if freight on board prices of products were considered.
The central bank is yet to finalise the FoB data.
BB officials said that the rice and wheat import remained high in the just concluded fiscal year in line with the previous fiscal year and so did the import payments.
Besides the high import payments for food grains, higher payments for petroleum in the wake of price rise of the item in the international market was another reason for the hike in import payments in the fiscal year, they said.
Crude oil was traded at round $70 a barrel in last couple of weeks, while its price was $50 a barrel a year ago.
The BB data showed that the import of food grains (mainly rice and wheat) increased by 161.74 per cent to $3 billion in FY18 from $1.15 billion a year ago.
Petroleum import posted the second highest growth, among the major items, as import of the item increased by 32.7 per cent to $3.35 billion in the immediate past fiscal year from $2.52 billion in the previous fiscal year.
Settlement of LCs for the import of industrial raw materials grew by 12.36 per cent to $18.22 billion in FY18 from $16.22 billion in FY17.
Import of capital machinery grew by 6.24 per cent to $5.15 billion in the fiscal year against $4.85 billion in the previous fiscal year.
In FY18, opening of LCs also increased significantly by 44.25 per cent to $69.42 billion year-on-year.
The country’s export earnings, however, were marginal in FY18 against the growth in import payments.
The country’s export earnings in the just concluded financial year stood $36.66 billion, growing by only 5.8 per cent from $34.65 billion in the previous fiscal year.
The amount of export earnings in FY18 is $84 million lower than the government-set target of $37.5 billion for the financial year.