Dhaka: Bangladesh's foreign exchange reserves have crossed the USD 10 billion mark, the highest ever, an official said.
The nine-fold increase in as many years is thanks to increasing remittances, a fall in global fuel prices and reduced rice imports.
The country's foreign currency reserve was USD 1.3 billion in the financial year 2000-01.
The increase of 91 percent, from USD 5.24 billion in November 2008, recorded Wednesday was cause for celebration for the country's economic planners.
"It is a historic moment as our long-cherished dream of reaching the USD 10 billion mark has finally turned into reality," Bangladesh Bank governor Atiur Rahman told media.
"It has become evident to the international arena that Bangladesh's economy is now based on strong economic foundation. We thank the farmers and non-resident Bangladeshis for their contribution in reaching the milestone," New Age newspaper quoted him as saying Thursday.
However, the reserves stood at USD 10.03 billion due to the addition of an Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan of USD 744 million to deal with the global recession and implementation of policy reforms.
Remittances had continued to rise despite global recession and hundreds of workers returning home jobless.
Bangladeshi workers abroad remitted over USD 3.6 billion in the first four months of the fiscal year, which is 21.23 percent up against the same period last year.
An all-time record for monthly remittance of USD 937.9 million was set in August this year. Bangladesh received USD 9.7 billion in remittance in 2008-09, and USD 7.9 billion in 2007-08.
Another plus for the calamity-prone economy was that rice production remained high and the import of the staple commodity dropped to zero.
Hit by floods and a cyclone in November 2007, Bangladesh had resorted to panic buying of rice during 2008 to offset crop losses.
First Published: Thursday, November 12, 2009, 14:02