Import payments decline in MarchStaff Correspondent
The country’s import bill payment in March declined sharply compared to the same month of the last financial year due to tighter monetary policy taken by the central bank amid shortage of foreign currency reserve, said Bangladesh Bank officials.
Provisional data of Bangladesh Bank released on Thursday showed that the settlement of letters of credit for import declined by 3.53 per cent in March compared to March 2011 when import payment grew by 24.62 per cent year-on-year.
The total import bill payment in March stood at $ 2.78 billion against $ 2.88 billion in March 2011. The import payment in March 2010 was $ 2.31 billion.
LC settlement in March also declined by 3.39 per cent compared to the previous month of February when import payment grew by 18.63 per cent year-on-year.
Besides, the growth in opening of letters of credit in March declined by 18.52 per cent year-on-year compared to 31.80 per cent growth in March 2011 year-on-year.
The total LC opening in March stood at $ 2.81 billion against $ 3.45 billion in March 2011. The LC opening in March 2010 was $ 2.62 billion.
A BB official told New Age on Thursday that the import bill payment had been declining for the last few months because of tight monetary policy taken by the central bank for January-June of 2012 amid shortage of the foreign currency.
He said the central bank had discouraged banks to open LCs of non-essential and luxury products after the country’s forex reserve fell below $ 9 billion-mark in January coming down from $ 11.32 in March 2011 because of higher import of fuel oil by the government to run the costly rental power plants.
The country’s forex reserve, however, crossed the $ 10 billion mark at the end of February, but a few days after the reserve tumbled to $ 9.12 when the government paid the import bills payment to the Asian Clearing Union in the first week of the March, he said.
According to the BB data, the country’s forex reserve now stands at around $ 9.73 billion.
Another BB official said that most of the private commercial banks were reluctant to open LCs as they were facing dollar shortage.
As a result, the value of Taka is now stable against the US dollar due to lower import growth in the last few months.
Under the circumstances, the pressure on forex reserve has eased, he said.
BB data showed the purchase rate of dollar stood at Tk 81.80 and the sale rate at Tk 81.82 on Thursday, coming down from Tk 84.40 and Tk 84.48 respectively on February 1, 2012.
The LC settlement for fuel oils and chemical products in March stood at $ 516.65 million and $ 148.95 million respectively against $322.81 million and $326.23 in January 2012, BB data showed.
The import bills payment for consumer goods like rice, wheat, sugar and milk products in March stood at $ 0.88 million, 17.63 million, 145.83 million and 24.30 million respectively against $8.47 million, $70.34 million, $152.32 million and $24.44 million in January.
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