The country's imports grew by 7.46 per cent during the first half of fiscal 2005-06 over the same period of the previous fiscal, official sources said.
The letters of credit (LCs) against imports worth US$ 6.512 billion was settled during July-December period of the fiscal compared with $6.06 billion in the same period of the previous fiscal.
However, import LCs worth $7.20 billion were opened in the first half of the current fiscal against of $6.98 billion of the same period of the previous fiscal. The growth was 3.19 per cent, sources in the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said.
According to the BB's provisional statistics, import of capital machinery recorded a 36.27 per cent growth during July-December period of the fiscal 2005-06, while that of petroleum and petroleum products the growth was 37.57 per cent. It was 3.09 per cent for industrial raw materials.
The import of capital machinery reached $610.10 million during the period as against $447.73 million during the same period of the previous fiscal.
However, the import of petroleum products reached $872.50 million during the period compared to $634.22 million of the same period of the previous fiscal.
On the other hand, the import of food grains, and other consumer goods declined by 7.75 per cent and 20.68 per cent respectively over same period of the previous fiscal.
Besides, the import of intermediate goods dropped at $482.61 million in the period against $518.22 million of the same period of the previous fiscal.
Sources, however, said most of the commercial banks are still reluctant to open fresh LCs excepting food items and capital machineries due to the short supply of the greenback in the inter-bank foreign exchange market.
BDNEWS adds: "This is a good sign...both the bankers and businessmen are behaving rationally in line with our expectations," a senior BB official told the agency.
Citing the substantial decline in consumer goods import against the rise in imports of capital machinery, he said: "This will be supportive of real economic activity in the country."
"The inflationary pressure in the economy will also ease," he observed.
Asked whether this moderate import growth was due to the dollar crisis, he said the pressure, which the market is witnessing, is due to meeting the deferred payments of import bills settled earlier.
M Aminuzzaman, President of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, said that the depreciation of taka against the US dollar had increased the prices of various imported consumer goods in the local market.