By Siddique Islam
Dhaka, Bangladesh – Bangladesh’s overall imports grew by 10.47 per cent or US$4.20 billion in the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17, thanks to a jump by over 37 per cent in import of capital machinery, officials said.
“The country’s overall import payments increased in the last fiscal year mainly due to higher imports of capital machinery,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the country’s central bank, said in Dhaka.
The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LCs) rose to US$ 44. 27 billion during the July 2016-June 2017 period of the FY 17 from $40.08 billion in the previous fiscal year, according to the central bank’s latest statistics. It was $38.45 billion in the FY 15.
On the other hand, opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, grew by 11.05 per cent or $4.79 billion to $48.12 billion in the FY 17 from $43.33 billion in the previous fiscal year.
He also said the overall imports may increase further in the ongoing fiscal year because of rising trend in food grains particularly rice to meet the growing demand for the essential in the domestic markets.
The import of food grains particularly rice and wheat increased by 2.78 per cent to $1.15 billion in the last fiscal from $1.12 billion in the FY 16 while import of consumer goods increased by 9.18 per cent to $5.02 billion from $4.60 billion.
On the other hand, the import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production rose by 37.39 per cent to $4.85 billion in FY 17 from $3.53 billion in the FY 16.
Higher imports in sectors including textile, leather and tannery, garment industry, power and energy, pharmaceuticals, telecom industry and ship building have contributed to raise the overall capital machinery import in the last fiscal, according to the central bankers.
The imports of intermediate goods like coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels increased by 11.05 per cent to $3.72 billion in the FY 17 from $3.35 billion in the previous fiscal year.
The import of industrial raw materials rose by 3.52 per cent to $16.22 billion in the FY 17 from $15.67 billion a year ago.
Besides, import of machinery for miscellaneous industries witnessed a 7.25 per cent growth to $4.62 billion in the last fiscal from $4.30 billion in the previous FY 16.
“Lower prices of petroleum products in the global market have contributed to easing import payment pressure on the economy in the recent years,” another BB official explained.
He also said fuel oils import increased by 3.30 per cent to $2.52 billion in the last fiscal from $2.44 billion a year before.