Imports crash in April, as expected

05 Jun 2020 1:20 PM
The country's import decreased 62 % year-on-year to $1.95 billion in April as commercial production has almost come to a halt due to the ongoing shutdown to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

The settlement of letters of credit (LCs), or referred to as import, also declined 53 per cent in April from a month earlier, when the figure stood at $4.17 billion, according to data from the central bank.

Both the LCs settlement for professional raw materials and capital machinery nosedived last month, putting a detrimental impact on the overall import.

A big the main imports is principally for the export-earning garment sector, however the professional units had suspended their manufacturing last month for the countrywide shutdown to flatten the curve on coronavirus.

The rogue virus has harmed the export earnings as well last month.

In April, exports nosedived five times from the prior month and 82.9 per cent from a year earlier to just $520.01 million, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau.

Besides, the import cost of petroleum products also reduced to a great extent due to a large price fall in the global market in the wake of the ongoing financial meltdown.

This has also helped the united states count less import payment.

Oil prices in the global market plunged to an 18-year low of less than $20 a barrel last month.

The international marker Brent crude, however, rose more than 3 per cent to above $30 on, may 14.

The opening of LCs, or better known as actual import orders, also saw a steep decline last month when the quantity stood at $1.60 billion, down 70 % year-on-year.

It has indicated that imports may decrease further in the months ahead.

"Businesses showed reluctance in opening and settling LCs last month as their professional units faced shutdown during the period," said Syed Mahbubur Rahman, managing director of Mutual Trust Bank.

Although the professional units of the garment sector have opened, many other factories are yet to start to run.

Against the background, import hasn't increased drastically this month, said Rahman, also an instantaneous past chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, a forum of managing directors of banks.

He, however, said that imports in the ship-breaking industry have recently increased.

Imports will bounce when the economy will reopen, according to him.

There is absolutely no great difference between your import of April and could, said Md Abdul Halim Chowdhury, managing director of Pubali Bank.

Back-to-back LCs for the garment sector have increased slightly, that is a positive thing for the economy.

Businesses now import food grains, petroleum products and some other food items; the import of other products have dropped remarkably.

Chowdhury, however, hopes that imports would get momentum as much foreign nations are now reopening their economies.

Banks usually gain a significant of their profits from the import-export businesses, said another managing director of a bank on condition anonymity.

So, lenders' profit will contract in the coming days if international trade will not grab, he said.

In a separate move, the central bank yesterday increased the loan ceiling for the member factories of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association and the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association from the export development fund (EDF).

According to the central bank instruction, both associations' members will be permitted to get $30 million instead of the prior $25 million.

Exporters are certain to get the support until December 31.

The central bank has recently extended the quantity of the EDF to $5 billion from the prior $3.5 billion to help exporters fight the ongoing crisis.