The country’s overall imports grew by nearly 7.0 per cent in the first two months of the current fiscal year (FY), 2013-14, following a 96.81 per cent increase in import of food gains, particularly rice and wheat, officials said.
“The overall imports increased during the period under review mainly due to higher import of food gains, besides capital machinery and intermediate goods,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank(BB) told the FE Monday.
The actual import in terms of settlement of letters of credit (LCs) increased by 6.80 per cent to US$5.74 billion during the July-August period of FY 14 from $5.37 billion in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank statistics.
On the other hand, opening of LCs, generally known as import orders, rose by 17.87 per cent to $6.46 billion in the first two months of FY 14 from $5.48 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
The actual import of rice jumped by 324.12 per cent to $36.55 million during the July-August period of FY 14 from only $6.26 million in the same period of FY 13, while wheat import increased by 84.93 per cent to $221.42 million from $119.73 million.
“It’s a bad signal for our economy. Higher import of food grains will fuel inflationary pressure, if it continues,” the central banker explained.
He also said both public and private sectors are now importing rice and wheat to meet the growing demand for the essentials in local market.
“We’re importing rice mainly from India and Thailand nearly after two years,” the BB official said, adding that the rising trend in rice and wheat import may continue until October this year.
Import of capital machinery or industrial equipment used for production rose by 13.82 per cent to $380.28 million during the period against $334.10 million of the corresponding period of FY 13.
Talking to the FE, another BB official said, higher import for textile, garment and energy and power sectors contributed to raise the overall capital machinery imports.
He also said the rising trend in capital machinery imports will continue, if the political uncertainty is over.
Besides, the entrepreneurs will be encouraged to import more capital machinery for setting up new industries, if the government ensures adequate supply of gas and power, particularly to the industrial areas, he added.
Import of intermediate goods, like – coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels, increased by 17.83 per cent to $570.84 million in the first two months of the current FY from $484.45 million in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, the BB data showed.
Industrial raw material import rose 11.39 per cent to $2.35 billion during the period under review from $2.11 billion in the same period of the FY 13.
However, import of petroleum products dropped by 26.65 per cent to $563.85 million during the July-August period of FY 14 from $768.76 million in the same period of the previous fiscal.