Bangladesh’s Top 10 Imports

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Bangladesh imported US$53 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2018, up by 10.3% since 2015 and up by 6.2% from 2017 to 2018.

Bangladeshi imports represent a modest 0.3% of total global imports which totaled an estimated $17.788 trillion one year earlier.

Given Bangladesh’s population of 159.5 million people, its total $53 billion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $330 in yearly product demand from every person in the South Asian country.

Bangladesh’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Bangladesh’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Bangladesh.

  1. Machinery including computers: US$6.7 billion (12.7% of total imports)
  2. Cotton: $6.6 billion (12.4%)
  3. Mineral fuels including oil: $4.6 billion (8.7%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: $3.9 billion (7.3%)
  5. Iron, steel: $2.8 billion (5.2%)
  6. Vehicles: $2 billion (3.9%)
  7. Manmade staple fibers: $1.9 billion (3.6%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: $1.9 billion (3.6%)
  9. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $1.7 billion (3.3%)
  10. Cereals: $1.5 billion (2.8%)

Bangladesh’s top 10 imports represent almost two-thirds (63.5%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Mineral fuels including oil had the fastest-growing increase in value among Bangladesh’s top 10 import categories, up by 48.5% from 2017 to 2018 due mostly to accelerated purchases of refined petroleum oils.

In second place for improving import sales was the iron or steel category, up by 29.8%. Trailing that was Bangladeshi imports of manmade staple fibers which delivered a 13.6% gain.

Leading the decliners among the top 10 Bangladeshi imports was cereals via its -33.3% drop year over year, weighed down by plummeting purchases of imported wheat and rice.

At the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level, Bangladesh spend the most on imported refined petroleum oils (7.7% of global total), woven fabrics made mainly from cotton (4.7%), raw cotton (3.2%), cotton yarn (2%), palm oil (also 2%) then mobile phones including smartphones (1.8%).

Machinery

In 2018, Bangladeshi importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.

  1. Miscellaneous machinery: US$540.2 million (up 128.5% from 2017)
  2. Yarn wash/clean/iron machines: $324 million (down -3%)
  3. Computers, optical readers: $316.8 million (down -9.1%)
  4. Engines (diesel): $296.8 million (up 30.7%)
  5. Sewing machines, related furniture: $281.5 million (up 22.9%)
  6. Knitting/stitching machines: $258.4 million (down -23.2%)
  7. Textile fiber work machines: $233.8 million (up 17%)
  8. Vapour-based boilers: $215.1 million (up 179.5%)
  9. Air or vacuum pumps: $214.7 million (up 1.2%)
  10. Liquid pumps and elevators: $180.7 million (up 0.3%)

Among these import subcategories, Bangladeshi purchases of vapour-based boilers (up 179.5%), miscellaneous machinery (up 128.5%) then diesel engines (up 30.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Bangladeshi businesses and consumers.

Cotton

In 2018, Bangladeshi importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of cotton and related products.

  1. Cotton (uncarded, uncombed): US$1.7 billion (down -3.2% from 2017)
  2. Woven fabrics (85%+ cotton): $1.4 billion (up 4.3%)
  3. Woven cotton fabrics: $1.1 billion (up 14.4%)
  4. Yarn (85%+ cotton): $1.1 billion (up 15%)
  5. Woven fabrics (mixed): $847.7 million (up 14.8%)
  6. Woven fabrics (under 85% cotton): $270 million (up 8.4%)
  7. Yarn (under 85% cotton): $122.8 million (up 8.5%)
  8. Other woven fabrics: $48.9 million (down -2.5%)
  9. Cotton (carded, combed): $11.1 million (down -84.5%)
  10. Cotton sewing thread: $1.5 million (up 27.8%)

Among these import subcategories, Bangladeshi purchases of cotton sewing thread (up 27.8%), cotton yarn (up 15%) then mixed woven fabrics (up 14.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported cotton among Bangladeshi businesses and consumers.

Fuel

In 2018, Bangladeshi importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.

  1. Processed petroleum oils: US$4.1 billion (up 51.5% from 2017)
  2. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $246.3 million (up 17.6%)
  3. Electrical energy: $183.4 million (up 444.6%)
  4. Petroleum gases: $65.6 million (down -38.6%)
  5. Petroleum oil residues: $13.3 million (down -68.9%)
  6. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $7.5 million (down -22.9%)
  7. Lignite: $6.9 million (no 2017 data)
  8. Coke, semi-coke: $5.5 million (up 141.2%)
  9. Distilled tar: $2.8 million (up 57%)
  10. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $2.3 million (down -14.4%)

Among these import subcategories, Bangladeshi purchases of electrical energy (up 444.6%), coke or semi-coke (up 141.2%) then distilled tar (up 57%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among Bangladeshi businesses and consumers.

Electronics

In 2018, Bangladeshi importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronic equipment including consumer electronics.

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$947.4 million (down -6.7% from 2017)
  2. Electric generating sets, converters: $428.3 million (up 30.2%)
  3. Electrical converters/power units: $357.6 million (up 10.7%)
  4. Insulated wire/cable: $249.3 million (up 11.9%)
  5. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $203.6 million (up 37%)
  6. Unrecorded sound media: $174.6 million (up 7%)
  7. Electric motor parts: $156.9 million (up 63.6%)
  8. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $132.3 million (up 25.8%)
  9. Electric storage batteries: $125.2 million (down -27.4%)
  10. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $110.8 million (up 6.6%)

Among these import subcategories, Bangladeshi purchases of electric motor parts (up 63.6%), electrical or optical circuit boards and panels (up 37%) then electric generating sets and converters (up 30.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Bangladeshi businesses and consumers.



 
See also Bangladesh’s Top 10 Exports and Top Asian Export Countries

Research Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook report on South Asia: Bangladesh. Accessed on April 13, 2019

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on April 13, 2019

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 13, 2019