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Import rises 12pc in March on food grains, machinery

FE Report | April 24, 2018 00:00:00

The country's overall import grew by more than 12 per cent or US$ 453.97 million in March, mainly due to higher import of food grains and capital machinery, officials said.

The settlement of letters of credit (LCs), generally known as actual import, in terms of value, rose to $4.20 billion in March 2018, from $3.74 billion in the same period of the previous calendar year.

The actual import was $4.02 billion in February 2018, according to the central bank's statistics.

"The overall import increased significantly in this March mainly due to higher import of food grains, particularly rice and wheat, as well as capital machinery to meet the growing demand for the essentials in the local market," a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE.

He also predicted that the upward trend in import might continue in the coming months also ahead of the holy Ramadan. Usually, a large quantity of essential commodities is imported to meet the additional demand of consumers during the month of Ramadan.

Rice import rose to $136.12 million in March 2018 from only $9.0 million a year before, while wheat import stood at $101.88 million from $98.97 million, the BB data showed.

However, the import of food grains, particularly rice, may fall slightly in the coming months due to seasonal effect, the central banker opined.

He also said the import of capital machinery may increase further in the coming months following implementation of different infrastructure projects, including Padma Bridge.

Import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production rose to $354.25 million in March 2018 as against $243.53 million in the same month of 2017.

Currently, the government is implementing nine projects under the supervision of Fast Track Project Monitoring Committee, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, for ensuring their quick completion.

Echoing the BB official's predications, Mohammed Haider Ali Miah, managing director and chief executive officer of EXIM Bank Limited, said the overall import may increase further in the coming months mainly due to holy Ramadan. The import of petroleum products, however, came down to $248.49 million in March 2018 from $304.34 million in the same month of 2017.

Besides, back-to-back import for ready-made garment (RMG) accessories also fell to $608.29 million last month from $642.06 million in March 2017.

On the other hand, opening of overall fresh LCs, generally known as import orders, rose by nearly 26 per cent or $1.11 billion to $5.42 billion in March 2018 from $4.32 billion a year ago. It was $4.24 billion in February 2018.

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