Import growth drops further in DecStaff Correspondent
The growth in import bill payment declined further in December 2012 as most of the commercial banks were still reluctant to open fresh letters of credit in the last few months after the Hallmark Group-Sonali Bank scam, said Bangladesh Bank officials.
According to the latest BB data released on Tuesday, the import of capital machinery, food grains, edible oil and chemical products had significantly decreased in December 2012 compared with that of the corresponding period in financial year 2011-12.
The settlement of LCs for import had increased by 2.30 per cent in December 2012 compared with that of the corresponding period in FY 2011-12 when the import bill payment increased by 12.73 per cent on year-on-year basis.
The total import bill payment in December 2012 stood at $2.54 billion. It was $2.48 billion in December 2011 and $2.84 billion in December 2010.
A BB official told New Age on Tuesday that the commercial banks continued to show reluctance to open letters of credit although the central bank frequently asked the bank to take positive measures in this regard.
He said the import bill payment in December 2012 had increased slightly compared with that of the same period of FY 2011-12.
The import bill payment increased in the period due mainly to lower import in December in 2011.
The official said the stagnation scenario in opening of LCs had arisen after the discloser of Hallmark Group-Sonali Bank scam that affected the mutual understanding among the banks.
He said a number of banks had not received payments against their purchases of inland bills from Sonali Bank relating to Hallmark Group after the scam.
The BB data showed that the opening of LCs for import had increased by 12.84 per cent in December 2012 compared with that of same month of FY 2011-12 when the opening of LCs registered a growth of 24.34 per cent.
In December 2012, LCs worth $2.82 billion were opened by the banks compared with LCs worth $2.50 billion opened in December 2011. The opening of LCs in December 2010 was worth $3.31 billion.
LC settlement in December for capital machinery, rice, wheat, edible oil, and chemical products including fertilisers were worth $100.25 million, $0.28 million, $50.52 million, $47.90 million and $175.18 million respectively against $119.19 million, $21.93 million, $59.69 million, $95.61 million and $263.17 million in December 2011.
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