The country’s import payments, a major indicator of a nation’s economic state, has increased for the second consecutive month in December as coronavirus infections in the country has been on the decline for the last couple of months.
Alongside the domestic situation, commencement of COVID-19 vaccination in many countries has also boosted business confidence in Bangladesh to make preparations on resuming businesses activities, businesses said.
The latest Bangladesh Bank data showed that the country’s import payments increased by 11.85 per cent or $528 million in December, 2020 month-on-month after posting a 10.1-per cent or $409-million growth in November.
Payments against imports increased to $4.99 billion in December 2020 from $4.46 billion in the previous month.
In October 2020, the country’s import payments dropped to $4.05 billion after increasing to $4.3 billion in September from $3.52 billion in the previous month. In July, the country’s import payments were $3.91 billion.
The coronavirus infection rate in October 2020 dropped to 11 per cent from around 23 per cent in July of the year. The infection rate has come down to around 5 per cent for around one month.
With promising results of the COVD-19 vaccine trial in the beginning of November 2020, global business confidence started to grow despite the emergence of a second wave of the coronavirus in different western countries.
Dow Jones Industrial Average, a stock market index that measures the stock performance of 30 large companies listed on stock exchanges in the United States, has been on the rise since early November 2020.
Dow exceeded the 31,000-point mark on January 20, 2021 after dropping to 26,501 points on October 30, 2020, reflecting a growing investment confidence.
With improved investment confidence on the global arena, the confidence of the country’s businesses was also improving.
Even though import payments have improved in the last couple of months, imports in the first half of the current fiscal year was 6.8 per cent lower than import payments in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
Payments against imports were $25.23 billion in July-December of FY21 against $27.07 billion in the same period of the previous year.
Bankers and businesses said that commencement of COVID-19 vaccination in the country from January 27 would ramp up investment confidence as well.
Given the present situation, the bankers at a meeting with BB governor Fazle Kabir on Wednesday also expressed optimism and requested the central bank not to enhance the loan moratorium facility further.
Despite the improvements, the country’s trade deficit in JulyDecember of FY21 dropped by 21.37 per cent or $1.76 billion to $6.47 billion against $8.22 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal year.