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July-May imports soar 16.56pc
Dhaka, BdChronicle :
The country's overall import jumped nearly 17 per cent in the first 11 months of the just-concluded fiscal year (FY), 2017-18, mainly due to high import of food grains and fuel oils, officials said.
The settlement of letters of credit (LCs), in terms of value, rose by 16.56 per cent to US$ 47.79 billion during the July-May period of FY 2017-18 from nearly $ 41 billion in the same period of FY 17.
"Higher import of consumer goods, including food grains, has pushed up the overall import expense during the period under review," a senior central banker told this.
During the July-May period of FY 18, the import of consumer items increased significantly mainly due to the Holy Ramadan and the Eid-ul-Fitr festival, he explained.
Usually, a large quantity of essential commodities is imported to meet the additional demand of consumers during the month of Ramadan, the month of fasting.
Import of consumer goods rose by 56.24 per cent to $ 7.26 billion during the period under review from $ 4.65 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the Bangladesh Bank's (BB) latest statistics.
Import of food grains, particularly of rice and wheat, soared nearly 175 per cent to $ 2.90 billion in the first 11 months of FY 18 from $ 1.05 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
"The overall import may fall slightly during the July-June period due to the national budget," the central banker opined.
Most businessmen normally follow a 'go-slow' policy in opening LCs in the month of June, he explained.
The BB official also said the import expense for fuel oils has been increasing gradually because of the rising trend in prices of petroleum products in the global market.
Import of petroleum products soared 27.11 per cent to $ 2.97 billion during the July-May period of FY 18 from $ 2.33 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, the BB data showed.
Talking to the FE, M A Halim Chowdhury, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Pubali Bank Limited, said the overall import payment obligations may increase slightly in the coming months.
He also said the existing trend of capital machinery import may continue in the near future following implementation of different infrastructure development projects, including Padma Bridge.
Import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production increased by nearly 7.0 per cent to $ 4.81 billion in the first 11 months of FY 18 against $ 4.50 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal.
However, import of intermediate goods, like - coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels, increased by 12 per cent to $ 3.86 billion in July-May period of FY 18 from $ 3.44 billion in the same period of FY 17.
Import of industrial raw materials grew by over 12 per cent to $ 16.81 billion during the period under review from nearly $ 15 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
During the period, import of machinery for miscellaneous industries witnessed an 8.28 per cent growth to $ 4.60 billion from $ 4.25 billion in the same period of FY 17.
On the other hand, opening of overall LCs rose by 48.25 per cent to $ 65.40 billion during the July-May period of FY 18, including $ 11.38 billion for Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), from $ 44.12 billion in the same period of the previous FY.
The Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), the state-run nuclear energy research and regulatory body, opened the LC through the state-owned Sonali Bank Limited to import different items, including capital machinery, to build the plant.