The nationalised commercial banks (NCBs) have been facing acute shortage of US dollar following their financing of oil import by Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC).
Some private commercial banks (PCBs) have emerged as the major players in the foreign exchange market in the absence of the NCBs. This situation has led to the recent hike in the exchange rate of the US dollar, a forex dealer told the FE.
The US dollar has continuously been gaining against Bangladesh Taka (BDT) due to short supply of the greenback in the foreign exchange market.
The short supply aggravated further as the NCBs have almost stopped selling the greenback in the market to meet their growing demand for opening letters of credit (LCs) against gasoline imports.
At least one major NCB has already turned into a buyer-bank from a seller-bank earlier in the foreign exchange market, the sources in the banking sector said.
Currently, the BPC imports petroleum products though opening of LCs with the NCBs.
On the other hand, the price-hike of some essentials, particularly petroleum products in the global market, pushed the demand for the greenback in the foreign exchange market.
"Currently, at least three first generation private commercial banks (PCBs) are now dominating the inter-bank foreign exchange market with holding major shares of foreign exchanges," a fund manager of a commercial bank told the FE Monday.
He also said the PCBs are always fixing the rate of US dollar over those of the state-owned commercial banks for collecting inward remittances.
However, the US dollar gained further against the BDT and reached a new high at Tk 69.99 Monday for opening LCs against imports.
It rose by 0.04 per unit from Sunday's high at Tk 69.95 due to short supply of the greenback in the market, the sources noted.
The banks quoted the dollar rate at Tk 67.05 on the day against Tk 66.95 of the previous day in the inter-bank foreign exchange market.
For opening LCs against imports, the NCBs quoted the dollar at Tk 68.97, while the PCBs and foreign commercial banks (FCBs) sold the greenback at Tk 69.99-69.95 on the day.
Some commercial banks have been facing problems in making their import payments against LCs in the recent days due to short supply of the greenback in the inter-bank market.
Some overseas banks have become choosy about Bangladeshi banks opening import LCs, trading sources said.
Meanwhile, the call rate remained unchanged at 24 per cent Monday, while most of the deals were settled between 9.50 per cent and 10.50 per cent.
The two NCBs -- Janata and Agrani -- mostly quoted the call rates between 10 per cent and 11 per cent Monday. However, the PCBs and FCBs lent funds at 8.50-24.00 per cent on the day against 8.75-24.00 per cent of the previous day.