Country’s imports grew by 5.36 percent in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 over the same period of the last FY. The growth was mainly due to higher import of intermediate goods and fuel oils.
The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LCs) rose to US$ 45.79 billion during the July-April period of FY’19 from $ 43.46 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank’s latest data.
However, the import growth during first 10 months showed a downward trend which may continue during the May-June period. Imports grew by 7.32 percent and 9.04 percent in the first nine and eight months of this fiscal year respectively.
The reason for the slowing the growth is reasoned to the historic trend that most businesses usually maintain a ‘go-slow’ policy with regard to import orders in the months of May and June waiting for the national budget. Import usually picks up after announcement of the national budget.
Meanwhile, import of intermediate goods such as coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels etc jumped by nearly 36 percent to $ 4.65 billion during the period under review from $ 3.42 billion in the same period of FY ’18.
Different construction materials imported as intermediate goods for implementing particularly mega projects pushed up overall import payments in the 10 months of this fiscal.
Mega infrastructure projects, including Padma Bridge, Dhaka Metro-Rail and Dhaka Elevated Expressway, have consumed the lion’s share of intermediate goods.
Higher import of petroleum products also spiked overall import spending during the period. Import of petroleum products including liquefied natural gas (LNG) soared by 24.43 percent to $ 3.22 billion in the 10 months of FY’19 from $ 2.60 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
Currently, around 50 power plants, out of a total of 129 plants across the country, are running on high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO), generally known as furnace oil. Earlier on May 22, the central bank doubled the deferred payment period for import of raw materials only for power generating enterprises to help ease pressure on the foreign exchange market.
On the other hand, import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production, decreased by 10.63 per cent to $ 3.93 billion during the July-April period of FY’19 from $ 4.40 billion, the BB data showed.
Industrial raw material import also rose by nearly 8.0 per cent to $ 16.29 billion during the period under review from $ 15.09 billion in the same period of FY ’18.
On the other hand, import of food-grains, particularly rice and wheat, dropped by 54.48 per cent to $ 1.23 billion from $ 2.70 billion.
Import of consumer goods also slumped by 27.23 per cent to $ 4.83 billion during the period under review from $ 6.64 billion over the same period of the previous fiscal.
Import of consumer goods including food items may decrease further in the coming months due to bumper production of Boro crop, Mr Chowdhury predicted.
However, opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, dropped by 19.39 per cent to $ 48.95 billion during the July-April period of FY ’19 from $ 60.73 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
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