Country’s overall imports grew by more than 9.0 per cent in the first eight months of this fiscal year (FY), 2018-19, following higher imports of intermediate goods and fuel oils, officials said.
The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LCs) rose to US$36.90 billion during the July-February period of FY’19 from $33.84 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank’s latest data.
“The overall import may rise slightly in the coming months ahead of the holy Ramadan,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE on Wednesday.
Usually, a large quantity of essential commodities is imported to meet the additional demand of consumers during the month of Ramadan, he added.
Echoing the BB’s official, MA Halim Chowdhury, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO), of Pubali Bank Limited said the overall import may increase slightly in the coming months mainly due to the Ramadan.
Meanwhile, import of intermediate goods such as coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels etc, jumped by 38.58 per cent to $3.68 billion during the period under review from $2.65 billion in the same period of FY ’18.
“Various construction materials imported as intermediate goods pushed up the overall import payments in the first eight months of this fiscal,” the central banker explained.
Different mega infrastructure projects, including Padma Bridge, metro-rail and Dhaka Elevated Expressway have consumed the lion share of intermediate goods, according to the BB official.
Higher import of fuel oils also pushed up the overall import expenses during the period under review, another BB official said.
Import of petroleum products including Liquefied natural gas (LNG) soared by 35.08 per cent to $2.61 billion in the first eight months of FY’19 from $1.93 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
“The rising trend in fuel oil import may continue in the coming months following diversified use of the gasoline products, particularly for power generation,” the central banker added.
On the other hand, the import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production, decreased by more than 7.0 per cent to $3.25 billion during the July-February period of FY’19 from $3.50 billion, the BB data showed.
Industrial raw material import also rose by 11.65 per cent to $13.18 billion during the period under review from $11.80 billion in the same period of FY ’18.
On the other hand, import of food grains, particularly rice and wheat, dropped by 58.01 per cent to $926.76 million from $2.21 billion.
However, import of consumer goods also slumped by 31.41 per cent to $3.63 billion during the period under review from $5.30 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
However, opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, dropped by nearly 22 per cent to $39.27 billion during the period under review from $50.20 billion in the same period of FY ’18.