Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) - The country’s overall import orders declined in the month of February last as political turmoil had gripped the country ahead of the general election, bankers said.
The falling trend of opening the letters of credit (LCs) against imports, generally known as import orders, might continue until the prevailing confrontational political situation improved, he added.
The import orders stood at US$ 1.479 billion in the first two weeks of February against $3.261 billion in the whole month of January last, according to the central bank statistics.
"The central bank is still working on the issue," a senior official of Bangladesh Bank (BB) told BBN in Dhaka, adding that the BB would release the final data on import during the whole month of February within a week.
He also said fewer working days and the ongoing political unrest might hit the country's overall import in February.
"The import of essential commodities including food grains and scrap vessels has already decreased significantly," a senior official at a leading private commercial bank (PCB) said.
Besides, the prices of scrap vessels have fallen drastically in the global market that has also contributed to its lower import, he added.
The price of per tonne scrap vessels has come down to $385 recently from maximum $600 in the last year, according to the banker.
He also said political skirmishes sparked by the verdict of the ICT and the issue of the 'caretaker government' had discouraged the entrepreneurs from importing capital machinery to set up new industrial units.
"Weak infrastructural facilities and inadequate gas and power supplies have also discouraged the investors from investing in fresh industrial projects," the banker said.
He also said most of the entrepreneurs are now following a 'go-slow' strategy to avoid any financial risks. "The entrepreneurs are closely observing the current political situation," he added.
BBN/SSR/AD-06Mar13-7:40 am (BST)