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Bangladesh trade deficit shrinks 15 pct, lowest in six yearsThursday, August 18, 2016 > 09:06:38
Aug 17 Bangladesh's trade deficit shrank to its lowest in six years in the financial year that ended in June, to stand at nearly $5.5 billion, down 15 percent from a year earlier, thanks to a drop in global commodities prices and steady garment exports.
Imports rose 5 percent in the year to $40 billion, while exports increased 10 percent to $34 billion, mostly driven by stronger garment sales, central bank data showed.
The $28-billion-a-year garment export industry, which had been recovering strongly from a major tragedy three years ago, could face a new threat as Western retailers limited visits after a deadly attack on a cafe in Dhaka's diplomatic quarter that killed 22 people, mostly foreigners.
Bangladesh routinely runs a trade deficit, but strong remittances from millions of citizens working overseas helped offset the trade shortfall and have kept the overall balance of payments in surplus in recent years.
Remittances, however, fell 2.5 percent, to $14.93 billion, in the last financial year, largely because of the impact of lower oil prices.
Foreign exchange reserves hit a record $30 billion in the last financial year, up nearly $5 billion from the previous year. ($1=78.40 taka) (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)