Bangladesh seeks $4.5b IMF loan as reserves shrink

Bangladesh has sought the funds for its balance of payment and budgetary needs, as well as for efforts to deal with climate change



A woman walks past the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters building in Washington, DC.— AFP file photo
A woman walks past the International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters building in Washington, DC.— AFP file photo

By Reuters

Published: Tue 26 Jul 2022, 6:21 PM

Bangladesh has sought a $4.5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, the Daily Star newspaper reported on Tuesday, joining South Asian neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka in seeking help to cope with mounting pressure on their economies.

Known for its big garment-exporting industry, Bangladesh has sought the funds for its balance of payment and budgetary needs, as well as for efforts to deal with climate change, the Daily Star reported, citing documents it had seen.

It said Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal wrote to IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva on Sunday.

Officials at the finance ministry and the office of the IMF in Bangladesh did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Bangladesh Bank recently announced a policy to preserve dollars by discouraging imports of luxury goods, fruit, non-cereal foods, and canned and processed foods.

The bank’s foreign-exchange reserves fell to $39.67 billion as of July 20 — sufficient for imports for about 5.3 months — from $45.5 billion a year earlier.

Remittances from overseas Bangladeshis fell five per cent in June to $1.84 billion, the central bank said, as many migrant workers lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic and many of them could not get home because of the travel disruption is caused.

Elsewhere in South Asia, Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis in seven decades while Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves are depleting rapidly.

The region’s economies have been hit particularly hard by the Ukraine war, which has raised the cost of fuel and other essential imports.

Bangladesh’s July to May current account deficit was $17.2 billion, compared with a deficit of $2.78 billion in the year-earlier period, according to central bank data.

In the first 11 months of the fiscal year that ended on June 30, imports jumped 39 per cent but exports grew 34 per cent. — Reuters


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