Bangladesh trade deficit widens on fuel imports

Tuesday, 13 December 2011 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

DHAKA (Reuters): Bangladesh's trade deficit widened 23 percent year on year in the three months to September as fuel imports increased sharply, a central bank official said, while export growth dipped in November as the global economy cooled.

The deficit in the first quarter of the fiscal year reached $1.81 billion, with the country's fuel bill more than doubling to $1.19 billion after new oil-fired power plants came on line, the official said on Monday.

The government is trying to shore up electricity supplies to industries and domestic users as natural gas reserves rapidly deplete.

Exports rose 2.4 percent year on year in November, a sharp drop from October's 15.4 percent increase, as a worsening global backdrop took its toll.

"There is little opportunity to improve the situation (in the current fiscal year) as export earnings continued to decline," Mirza Mohammad Azizul Islam, former government finance adviser, told Reuters.

"Export volumes will not rise in near future because economies of the European Union and U.S.A. (are)... suffering," he said, a adding the government should step up efforts to get aid committed by its development partners to tackle the difficulties.