Usable forex reserves fall below $13b mark 

The foreign exchange reserves have taken another hit, with the usable amount dipping below the $13 billion mark following recent settlement of import liabilities to the Asian Clearing Union (ACU). 

According to the Bangladesh Bank sources, the total reserves now stand at $23.77 billion, while the usable amount is slightly less than $13 billion. The figure stands at $18.32 billion if it is calculated as per the IMF prescribed BPM6 method. 

It was learnt that a significant portion of the reserves, amounting to $1.63 billion, has recently been spent to settle import bills for the months of March and April to the ACU.

Under the $4.7 billion loan scheme, the IMF initially asked Bangladesh to maintain $20.11 billion in net reserves until 30 June. It recently revised the target down to $14.75 billion, but the country failed to meet the threshold too.  

Currently, Bangladesh spends around $5 billion per month to pay import liabilities. 

Mezbaul Haque, the spokesperson of Bangladesh Bank, attributed the fall in reserves to the payment of import bills for the last two months. 

Looking ahead, the spokesperson mentioned the disbursement of an IMF loan installment next month and anticipated income from expatriates exceeding $2 billion this month. It would increase the inflow of dollars and relax the pressure on reserves. 

According to the central bank, the country received around $900 million in expatriate income in the first 12 days this month. With the current exchange rate hiked at Tk 117 per dollar, the authorities are hopeful of a potential surge in expatriate income and export earnings.