April 5, 2012 / 12:16 PM / 6 years ago

Bangladesh trade deficit widens as higher oil boosts import bill

DHAKA, April 5 (Reuters) - Bangladesh’s trade deficit widened by more than $1.2 billion in July-February due to soaring oil import costs, while a faltering global economy sapped demand for its key garment exports.

In the first eight months of current fiscal year, imports rose 14.5 percent to $24.09 billion while exports rose 13 percent to $15.90 billion, widening the trade deficit to $8.19 billion, central bank data showed on Thursday.

The South Asian country routinely runs a trade deficit, but high global oil prices and increased volumes widened the gap.

The balance of payments situation is likely to improve slightly in coming months as apparel exports have been picking up since March due to a shift in orders from China, where costs are rising, the official said.

Remittances from more than 8 million Bangladeshis working overseas, which help offset negative impacts on the trade gap, rose 10.7 percent to $9.53 billion in July-March.

The current account, which turned positive in December after staying in the red for two months, rose to $462 million in January from $409 million a month earlier.

Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Kim Coghill

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