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The Financial Express

Surplus in balance of payments exceeds $4.0b in July-October

| Updated: December 11, 2020 10:36:11


-Reuters file photo -Reuters file photo

The surplus in the balance of payments of Bangladesh has continued to rise amid the coronavirus pandemic, exceeding $4 billion in the July-October period.

In the same period last year, the key economic index was in a $1.52 billion deficit which stood at around $5 billion at the end of the last fiscal year, reports bdnews24.com.

The surplus was $3.57 billion in the first three months of the 2020-21 fiscal year, according to data published by Bangladesh Bank on Wednesday.

Growing remittance inflow and exports, and a drop in imports and fuel oil prices in the international market have caused the balance of payments surplus, analysts say.

The huge surplus has brought some relief to the government amid the pandemic crisis, but analysts doubt how long the surplus will last.

Bangladesh’s economy may slip back into a deficit in the balance of payments if the surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths continue in the US, Europe and other parts of the world, said Ahsan H Mansur.

The executive director at Policy Research Institute said remittance inflow and export may drop while import costs may increase, and these factors will cause a balance of payments deficit again.

He urged caution in fixing economic policies.

AB Mirza Azizul Islam, who was the finance advisor of the 2007-08 caretaker government, also said the government should make decisions upon the careful appreciation of the situation on the ground instead of making self-congratulatory moves.

 “No-one knows when the crisis will be over,” he said.

After closing the 2019-20 fiscal year with around $18 billion in the trade deficit, import costs exceeded export earnings by $3.23 billion in July-October against $5.72 billion in the same period last year.

Remittance inflow in the period grew 42.16 percent year on year to $8.96 billion in the period.

Mid-term and long-term foreign loan assistance for Bangladesh increased by 83 percent year on year to $1.65 billion in the first four months of the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Foreign direct investment, however, has dropped 30.77 percent to $720 million in this period as the pandemic continues to ravage the global economy.

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