DHAKA, May 4 (Reuters) - Bangladesh’s foreign exchange reserves reached a record high $20.37 billion at the end of April, more than 37 percent higher than a year earlier, the central bank said on Sunday.
The higher reserves, which stem from a widening current-account surplus, can to cover more than six months of imports.
At the end of April 2013, reserves were $14.83 billion. The total last month was $1.06 billion above the March 2014 level.
Rising exports and slow imports have helped build reserves despite a drop in remittances due to fewer Bangladeshis going abroad to work.
In the first three quarters of the fiscal year that began July 1, exports were $22.24 billion, up 13 percent from a year earlier, largely due to stronger garment sales.
However, Bangladesh’s garment industry has been hit by a string of fatal factory disasters, including the April 2013 collapse of a building housing factories 2013 that killed more than 1,130 people.
In the first 10 months of the fiscal year, the central bank purchased nearly $4.2 billion from local commercial banks to stem the rise of the domestic currency.
Economic growth is expected to slow below 6 percent in the l year ending in June, after the country was gripped by political turmoil leading up to an election in January. In 2012/13, the economy grew 6 percent. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Richard Borsuk)