(Add details on imports, prices)
DHAKA, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Bangladesh has increased duty on imports of raw and refined sugar to discourage overseas buying amid a drop in prices due to ample supplies, a senior tax official said on Thursday.
The duties on imports of raw sugar have been raised to around 7,000 taka ($90) a tonne from 2,000 taka previously, the official at National Board of Revenue’s customs arm said.
Duties on refined sugar imports were earlier increased to nearly 10,500 taka ($135) from 4,500 taka.
In March, Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corp, the state agency, received no bids for the export of 75,000 tonnes of sugar in an international tender to the European Union, amid low global prices.
Global sugar prices have been under pressure this year from ample supplies, with raw sugar sinking to a seven-year low this month.
White sugar from the government stockpile is being sold at mill gates at 37 taka ($0.51) a kg, almost half the cost of production. Still, the government agency has found it tough to sell the sweetener, as private refiners are offering lower rates.
Private refiners in Bangladesh imported around 2 million tonnes of raw sugar in the fiscal year ended that in June 2014, up from 1.37 million the previous fiscal year.
Bangladesh depends on imported raw sugar to meet annual demand of 1.4 million to 1.5 million tonnes of refined sugar.
In late 2012, the government allowed exports of sugar by private refiners who had been calling for overseas sales as they have more than 3 million tonnes of refining capacity.
Private refiners mostly import raw sugar from Brazil, India and Thailand and export refined sugar to East Africa and the Middle East.
$1 = 77.7500 Bangladesh taka Reporting by Ruma Paul; editing by Susan Thomas