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Taka weaker against US dollar

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FT ONLINE

The Bangladesh Taka (BDT) depreciated by 5.15 per cent against the US dollar ($) during the last one year despite selling of the greenback by the central bank to keep the foreign exchange (forex) market stable.

The US$ was quoted at Tk 82.75 each in the inter-bank forex market on Monday against Tk 78.70 a year before.

According to the market operators, such depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar may fuel inflationary pressures on the economy in the near future.

The central bank directly sold $1.10 billion to the commercial banks from July 01, 2017 to January 08, 2018 as part of its ongoing foreign currency support.

“We’re selling the foreign currency to the banks to help settle the outstanding letters of credit (LCs) against imports, particularly of fuel oils, food grains and capital machinery,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said.

Such liquidity support may continue in line with the market requirement, the central banker hinted.

BB resumed its foreign currency support through selling the US dollar to the banks in February 2017 after an interval of two months.

A total of $1.27 billion was sold from February 2017 to January 08, 2018, reports said.

BB, however, did not sell any US dollar in last June. Earlier, BB sold only $8.0 million to the banks in November 2016.

The central bank is providing the US currency support to the banks for settling import payment obligations, particularly of food grains, capital machinery and fuel oils.

The exchange rate of the local currency vis-à-vis the greenback is primarily dependent on the demand for settling import payments as well as the availability of the latter from exports and inward remittances.

The supply of US dollar has decreased in the recent months mainly due to widening of the country’s overall external trade deficit along with a declining trend of inward remittances, the market operators explained.

The country’s overall trade deficit rose by nearly 109 per cent to $5.79 billion during the July-October period of FY 2017-18, from $2.77 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.

Higher import payment obligations than export earnings pushed up the trade deficit significantly during the period in FY 18 compared to the same period of FY 17, they added.

The inflow of remittances fell by 0.53 per cent or $72.46 million to $13.54 billion in 2017 from $13.61 billion a year ago, the BB data showed.

-NK

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