Bangladesh’s net imports last fiscal year went negative by 4.36 percent for the first time since fiscal 2001-02, to take the country’s current account balance to the surplus.
In fiscal 2012-13, some $33.97 billion worth of goods and services were imported, down from previous year’s $35.52 billion, according to data from the central bank.
Bankers and analysts attributed the negative growth to less food grain, capital machinery and luxury item imports as well as price benefits on petroleum imports.
“It is good that the country has become self sufficient in food requirement and doesn’t need to import this essential item. But less import of capital machineries is not encouraging for an emerging country like Bangladesh,” said Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, managing director of Pubali Bank.
The country imported $31 million worth of rice in fiscal 2012-13, down from $288 million a year ago and $830 million in fiscal 2010-11. The letters of credit (LC) settled for capital machinery imports stood at $2.12 billion, which is down by nearly 16 percent from a year ago.
Meanwhile, the petrol bill, too, dropped on the back of favourable exchange rate, said Eunusur Rahman, chairman of Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation. One US dollar is now selling at Tk 77-78, which was Tk 84-85 a year ago.
Petroleum imports last fiscal year stood at $4.39 billion, down from fiscal 2011-12′s $4.48 billion.
Bangladesh’s major import items include petroleum products, chemicals, cotton, yarn, textiles and articles, capital machineries and edible oil.
The decline in imports has sent the country’s current account balance $2.5 billion in the surplus last fiscal year, which were $447 million and $1.68 billion in the negative in fiscal 2011-12 and 2010-11 respectively.