Imports rose 5 percent on the year to $40 billion, while exports increased 10 percent to $34 billion, mostly driven by stronger garment sales, Bangladesh 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.
The country 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)