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H1 imports rebound by 11pc

Staff Correspondent

A file photo shows a wholesaler weighing rice at a market in Dhaka. The country’s import of rice and wheat increased by 100.47 per cent in the first six months of the current financial year 2013-14. — New Age photo A file photo shows a wholesaler weighing rice at a market in Dhaka. The country’s import of rice and wheat increased by 100.47 per cent in the first six months of the current financial year 2013-14. — New Age photo

The country’s imports increased by 11.59 per cent in the first six months of the current financial year 2013-14 compared with that of a negative growth of 10.72 per cent in the corresponding period of the FY13.
According to Bangladesh Bank data released on Tuesday, settlement of letters of credit, or generally known as actual imports, stood at $17.79 billion in July-December of the FY14 against that of $15.94 billion in the same period of the FY13.
BB officials told New Age on Tuesday that mainly higher import of food grains and capital machinery pushed up the overall imports in the first half of the FY14.
LC opening, or generally known as import orders, in the first six months of the FY14 also posted a growth of 10.30 per cent compared with that of a negative growth of 6.41 per cent in the same period of the FY13.
LCs worth $18.81 billion were opened in July-December of the FY14 against the LCs worth $17.05 billion opened in the corresponding period of the FY13.
The BB data showed that import of food grains (rice and wheat) increased by 100.47 per cent in July-December of the FY14 compared with that of a 38.99 per cent negative growth in the same period of the FY13.
Settlement of LCs in the first six months of the current financial year
for rice and wheat was worth $675.73 million against $337.08 million during the same period of the FY13.
The import of rice increased gradually in the recent months due mainly to lower prices of the essential commodity on the international market, a BB official said.
The price of rice increased on the local market in the last few months which encouraged the businessmen to import the commodity more, he said.
Besides, the production of rice in the country declined during the last financial year that pushed up the import of the staple food after the country had enjoyed available food grains in the previous few years.
The BB data showed that the import of capital machinery increased by 16.60 per cent in July-December of the FY14 compared with that of a negative growth of 23.68 per cent in the same period of the FY13.
Settlement of LCs in the first half of the FY14 for capital machinery was worth $1.14 billion against $981.30 million during the same period of the FY13.
The import of huge amount of capital machinery in recent months has already raised suspicion that money laundering might have occurred in the process, the central banker said.
The import of capital machinery had declined sharply in the FY13 but it increased in the recent months of this financial year despite having unfriendly business environment in the country amid political unrest, he said.
Against the backdrop, the Anti-Corruption Commission has already launched an enquiry to detect the real cause of increasing trend in higher import of the capital machinery.
As part of the move, the ACC sought import data from the central bank about the capital machinery related information of five banks.
The banks are state-owned Agrani, Janata and Rupali, private commercial Islami Bank Bangladesh and foreign HSBC.
The import of industrial raw materials increased by 11.61 per cent in the first six months of the FY14 compared with that of a negative growth of 5.30 per cent in the same period of the FY13.
Settlement of the LCs in the first six months for the industrial raw materials was worth $7.17 billion against $6.42 billion during the same period of the FY13.
The BB data, however, showed that the import of petroleum products registered a negative growth of 16.14 per cent in the first six months of the FY14 compared with that of a negative growth of 5.96 per cent in the corresponding period of the FY13.
Settlement of the LCs in the first six months for the petroleum products was worth $1.90 billion against $2.27 billion during the same period of the FY13.




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