The country’s spending on rice imports have increased twelve fold during the first eight months of FY 2013-14 (July 2013 – June 2014), compared with that of the same period in FY 2012-13, according to the Bangladesh Bank.
The Bank’s data shows that actual import settlements for rice stood at $171.58 million between July 2013 and February 2014 against $13.24 million during the same period last year, say local sources. The Bank also says that rice imports surged despite an increase in rice production in FY 2012-13. Decline in international rice prices, increase in domestic rice prices, appreciation of Bangladeshi taka against the U.S. dollar are the main reasons for surge in rice imports, according to the Bangladesh Bank.
According to the Bangladesh Bank, average rice prices in the international market declined by around 14.3% to about 393 per ton during the first six months of FY 2013-14 from $458.5 per ton in FY 2012-13. Average rice prices in the international market were $504.5 per ton in FY 2011-12 and $ 470.7 per ton in FY 2010-11, according to the Bank report. In comparison, average prices of imported rice were Tk 30.65 per kilogram (around $388 per ton), while the average domestic rice prices stood between Tk 38 and TK 40 per kilogram (around $482 – $507 per ton) during the first six months of FY 2013-14 (July – December), says the Bank.
According to the Ministry of Food, Bangladesh imported 374,560 tons of rice between July, 1 2013 and April 7, 2014, of which 371,500 tons are imported by the private sector and 3,060 tons are imported by the government. The country imported only 28,930 tons of rice in FY 2012-13, of which 25,270 tons were imported by the private sector and 3,660 tons were imported by the government.
The USDA projects Bangladesh’s rice imports to reach around 400,000 tons in MY 2013-14 (May – April), up 1,043% from 35,000 tons of rice imported in MY 2012-13.