Country's overall imports dropped by more than 18 per cent in July, the first month of the current fiscal year (FY) 2016-17, mainly due to lower imports of capital machinery, officials said.
The settlement of letters of credit (LCs), generally known as actual import, came down to US$ 2.80 billion in July from $3.44 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank latest statistics.
On the other hand, opening of fresh LCs, generally known as import orders, rose by 2.86 per cent to $3.10 billion in the first month of the FY 17 from $ 3.01 billion during the same period of the FY 16.
"We expect that overall imports may pick up in the coming months as the import orders increased in July 2016," a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE Sunday.
He also said import decreased in terms of value, not in quantity.
"The falling trend in commodities including petroleum products' prices in the global market has also contributed to lower import payment during the period under review," the BB official explained.
The overall import normally falls after announcement of the national budget, according to the central banker.
"Most of businessmen normally maintain a 'go-slow' policy in the month of July after announcement of the national budget," he noted.
Import of capital machinery -- industrial equipment used for production -- was down by 24.92 per cent to $248.79 million during the period as against $331.37 million of the previous fiscal.
Lower imports for garment, packing, telecom, steel & engineering industries, and power and energy sectors have pushed down the overall capital machinery imports during the period under the review, another BB official explained.
He also said imports of capital machinery may increase in near future if implementation of large infrastructure projects is geared up.
Besides, petroleum products' import dropped by 33.52 per cent to $114.27 million in July last from $171.88 million of the previous fiscal year, the BB's data showed.
On the other hand, import of industrial raw materials increased by 2.55 per cent to $1.19 billion in the first month of FY 17 against $1.16 billion during the same period of the previous fiscal.
The import of industrial spares and accessories dropped by 12.42 per cent to $318.86 million in the first month of the FY 17 from $ 364.09 million during the same month of the FY 16, according to the official figures.
However, import of food-grains covering rice and wheat increased nearly 33 per cent to $74.44 million in July last from $56.02 million during the same period of the FY 16.
On the other hand, import of intermediate goods like coal, hard coke, clinker and scrap vessels dropped by more than 12 per cent to $212.48 million in July last from $241.71 million during the same period of the previous fiscal.