Economy

Despite widespread political demonstrations in Bangladesh ahead of national elections in January 2014, gross domestic product (GDP) growth in Fiscal Year 2014 (ended 30 June 2014) is estimated at 6.1%, half a percentage point higher than projected in the Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2014 in April. The strong performance came from higher public investment and strong exports. For FY2015, growth is now projected at 6.4%, slightly higher than forecasted earlier, as a revival in worker remittances is expected to bolster private consumption, while private sector investment will pick up on greater political stability. Moreover, the government will continue its efforts to step up project implementation.

Selected economic indicators (%) - Bangladesh 2014 2015
ADO 2014 Update ADO 2014 Update
GDP Growth 5.6 6.1 6.2 6.4
Inflation 7.5 7.4 6.5 6.5
Current Account Balance (share of GDP) -0.5 1.0 -1.5 1.5

Source: ADB estimates.

Food prices were high for much of FY2014 because political unrest disrupted supply, pushing inflation up by 60 basis points to an average of 7.4% for the year, or nearly the ADO 2014 forecast. This Update retains the April projection, shared by the central bank, of 6.5% for average inflation in FY2015. Price pressures are expected to soften with easing supply constraints, a better crop outlook, supportive monetary policy, and large public stocks of food grain. Lower international food and oil prices will contribute.

Strong expansion in exports outweighed a more moderate rise in imports to narrow the trade deficit in FY2014. Workers’ remittances declined slightly but were sufficient to offset the trade deficit and push the current account to a surplus equal to 1.0% of GDP, not the 0.5% deficit that had been projected. While a larger trade deficit is projected for FY2015, remittances are expected to grow by 7.0%, continuing the revival of inflows seen in the second half of the FY2014. With higher remittances, the current account is now projected to post a surplus equal to 1.5% of GDP, rather than the 1.5% deficit projected earlier.

Source: ADB. 2014. Asian Development Outlook 2014 Update. Manila.