Remittances spur Bangladesh forex reserves to record $34.23 amid pandemic

Emergency funds of $732 million from the International Monetary Fund also drove the reserves, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told on Wednesday.

“The good news has given us courage to fight COVID-19,” he said.

The foreign exchange reserves reached record $34.23 billion on Wednesday. Officials said it was equal to import bills of eight months.

Reserves hit the previous high of $33.68 billion on Sept 5, 2017. It has since hovered above $31.5 billion and reached $33.46 billion on Tuesday.

The expatriate Bangladeshis remitted as much as $135 million on the first two days of June after sending more than $1.5 billion in May. The IMF money was deposited on Wednesday.
Exports and imports have both dipped. In April, Bangladesh’s export earnings dropped below the remittances received for the first time in its history.

The government has been giving 2 percent incentive on remittance this fiscal year. It has also relaxed some rules after the virus crisis set in.

The incentives led to a spike in remittance but inflow began to drop in March as hundreds of thousands of expatriates returned home due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has also left a vast number of the world population jobless.

Still, they sent $1.08 billion in April.

Economists warned the amount will shrink further. The expatriates were possibly sending the money from their savings or loans, researcher Ahsan H Mansur said.

Many of the Western and Middle Eastern countries, however, have begun reopening their economies after several months of lockdowns.

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