Bangladesh forex reserves cross $44bn milestone

Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves have crossed another milestone on the money sent by migrant workers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The reserves at Bangladesh Bank stood at all-time high of $44.028 billion after Wednesday’s transactions.

The amount is sufficient to pay import bills for over 11 months.

The reserves crossed $43 billion for the first time on Dec 30 last year, but dropped below $42 billion when the country cleared the import bills to Asian Clearing Union in the first week of January this year.

With boosted remittances continuing to flow in, it took less than two months to cross another milestone. 

Central bank officials think that the reserves will remain above $44 billion until Bangladesh pays the import bills again in early March.

On Feb 3 last year, Bangladesh’s foreign currency reserves were $32.45 billion, which means the reserves increased by $11.58 billion in a year.

Despite the pandemic and lockdown measures across the globe, the expatriates sent $2.6 billion remittances in July year, the highest for a month.

In January this year, the country received $1.96 billion in remittances with an around 20 percent year-on-year rise. The growth was almost same in the first 23 days of February when the migrant workers sent nearly $1.45 billion.

Increased foreign loans also played a role in the boosting foreign reserves. The foreign loans grew 12.08 percent to $2.88 billion year on year in the July-December period of last year.

Meanwhile, import costs dropped in the six months by 6.8 percent.