Is Bangladesh’s present $42 billion international alternate reserve protected sufficient?

| Up to date:
Could 29, 2022 11:29:56

The latest rise of the US greenback in opposition to the taka and the chapter of Sri Lanka have raised a burning query within the public sphere – whether or not Bangladesh’s international alternate coffers are adequate for it to outlive in occasions of want, experiences .

Policymakers, high macroeconomists and the Bangladesh Financial institution say the drop in COVID-19 circumstances has been accompanied by a worldwide rise in commodity costs because the Russian-Ukrainian struggle has led to increased manufacturing prices and provide. In the meantime, a decline in remittances in comparison with final yr’s inflows has raised issues.

Excessive imports elevated the demand for {dollars} and the Bangladeshi taka, like many different currencies world wide, started to lose worth.

In the meantime, rising greenback spending on imports and different requirements is placing stress on international alternate reserves. Bangladesh had a report $48.02 billion in August final yr, sufficient to pay import payments for as much as a yr, however a gentle decline has introduced it all the way down to the present $42 billion.

The Worldwide Financial Fund disagrees with the Bangladesh Financial institution on the way it experiences its greenback reserves.

In an evaluation, whereas the reserve stood at $44 billion on the finish of final fiscal yr, the IMF mentioned the central financial institution had overstated its reserves by $7.2 billion by together with sub-reserve non-reserve property. estimating the related dangers, which led to an inflated reserve estimate.


In accordance with central financial institution knowledge, from July to March of the present fiscal yr, the import of varied commodities was $66.5 billion, 43.84 % increased than final fiscal yr. of the identical interval.

Relating to remittances, in the identical 9 months, expatriates despatched $17.31 billion, down 16.25% from the identical interval final yr.

In the meantime, Bangladesh earned $43.34 billion from exporting items, up 35.14% from the identical interval final fiscal.

The info reveals that there stays a median deficit of US$1 billion every month, which places immense stress on the reserve.


To stabilize an already declining economic system and foreign money market, a phenomenon some economists name “disaster on each side”, the central financial institution has devalued the taka in opposition to the US greenback thrice prior to now two months.

The Bangladesh Financial institution has additionally tightened its import coverage for luxurious and non-essential objects like sport utility automobiles, washing machines, air conditioners and fridges.

He had ordered banks in April to maintain the money margin at 25% for letters of credit score to import non-essential items after the nation’s commerce deficit continued to widen, posting a 64% enhance to round $25 billion year-on-year within the first 9 months of the present fiscal yr.

As import prices continued to rise, the Bangladesh Financial institution this month ordered banks to extend the money margin for imports of vehicles and family home equipment. For imports of different non-essential merchandise, the margin was set at 50 per cent.

On the identical time, the federal government has additionally taken a number of measures, resembling prohibiting officers from abroad excursions and suspending some improvement initiatives that require a lot of imported supplies.

Along with this, the federal government has provided expatriate Bangladeshis to speculate limitless sums of cash within the greenback bonds. However because the authorities has to pay the curiosity in {dollars}, it lowered the rate of interest to scale back the {dollars} leaving the nation.

All of those measures, though welcomed partially by analysts and economists, have been clearly not sufficient to calm a good international alternate market, as the worth of the US foreign money continued to climb, reaching the mark of 100 Tk to a while this month, the best in Bangladeshi historical past.

Which, reluctantly, validates the query: is the present reserve adequate for a rising Bangladeshi market, more and more depending on imports?


The economists and monetary analysts who agreed to be interviewed for this text are divided on their opinions.

Some don’t even contemplate the issue to be alarming. Improvement economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad is considered one of them.

Talking to, the economist mentioned there was no want to fret in regards to the present state of the reserve.

“I do not assume it is [the current reserve] mistaken. Sure, proper now it isn’t in the identical situation as earlier than, however all we’ve got now’s sufficient I imagine,” he mentioned.

Economist Zaid Bakht agrees along with his senior colleague.

“A number of years in the past, the reserve was $30 billion. We weren’t anxious then, we’re fairly completely satisfied to see the brand new benchmark. I do not know why we should always fear about it now? ” he provided.

Zaid, the president of the Agarani financial institution, nonetheless, criticizes the mechanism by which the federal government tries to “artificially” management the international alternate market.

“These measures are non permanent. However the development appears to be long run. The federal government wants to deal with the issue of demand discount and enhance the circulate of international foreign money provide to the market to maintain it steady.

Among the many alarmists, some have advised adopting conservative financial and monetary coverage to gradual spending on the reserve, whereas others have pushed for the introduction of recent measures to extend the dimensions of the reserve.

The previous chief economist of the World Financial institution’s Dhaka workplace, Zahid Hussain, believes it’s excessive time for the federal government and the central financial institution to step up a gear to extend the dimensions of the reserve.

“In regular occasions, in response to an IMF coverage that has been adopted as a worldwide normal, a rustic ought to have a protected [foreign exchange] to cowl imports for 3 to 5 months. The worldwide moneylender not too long ago revised it, saying a reserve to cowl imports for eight to 12 months may be thought of protected to stabilize a international alternate market because the international economic system is in equilibrium in the mean time.


The talk escalated after Sri Lanka, one other SAARC nation, defaulted on its international debt, resulting in social unrest and an unstable political local weather.

Analysts say many years of macroeconomic mismanagement and big international debt to be spent on so-called megaprojects have been the principle elements that pushed the nation into such a precarious place.

The state of affairs in Sri Lanka is so dire that even international lenders just like the IMF are refusing to offer the island nation with a line of credit score to outlive.

In accordance with the most recent Financial Relations Division report, Bangladesh owes $55.44 billion to its improvement companions and collectors as of February.

Because of a rise in international strains of credit score, the variety of improvement initiatives can be rising in Bangladesh, however this development, in response to some famend economists, shouldn’t be taken as a cautionary story.

Since independence, economist KAS Murshid believes, Bangladesh has at all times finished a superb job in managing its macro-economy, though he believes it’s excessive time for the federal government to undertake a conservative method.

“GDP was as soon as increased than our international debt. Not anymore. The federal government must pay extra consideration to this,” he mentioned.

Kholiquzzaman additionally has nice confidence within the construction of Bangladesh’s economic system.

“I do know we’ve got to take a cautious method any longer, however I’ve nice confidence in our coverage makers that they will deal with it,” he mentioned.

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