Most banks in the country settled import Letters of Credit (LCs) at Tk91.50-Tk92 per dollar on Sunday, two days after the central bank withdrew the uniform exchange rate of dollars.
However, some banks are charging Tk93 per dollar for opening LCs due to a shortage of the American greenback in the market, according to treasury officials of several banks.
Bank officials alleged that they had to buy dollars at much higher prices from the exchange houses.
Earlier on Thursday, the exchange rate of the US dollar remained stable at Tk92 as most banks settled LCs at the rate after the Bangladesh Bank earlier in the morning asked them to quote the dollar rate based on market demand instead of the prescribed exchange rate.
The exchange rate was above Tk95 on Wednesday.
On Sunday, banks monetised the export bills at Tk91 per dollar. However, at least one bank has reportedly cashed in at Tk92. In addition, remitters have been given Tk91.45 to Tk92.50 per dollar.
An official of the treasury department of a private bank, on condition of anonymity, said, "Dollar transactions are usually very low in the international market on Sundays. So even if the dollar rate rises a little today, it will not have much effect. The market needs to be monitored for at least three or four more days."
The head of the treasury department of another private bank, who did not want to be named, told TBS that the supply of dollars in the market remained low.
"We have to pay much more to meet the cost of imports than the export price we get. In addition, remittances have also declined over the last month. So we have to buy dollars from exchange houses to meet this deficit," he said.
"At present, we are buying dollars from exchange houses at a rate of Tk92.50-Tk93. Thus, officially our LC rate is Tk92 per dollar but in some cases, we are forced to charge Tk93 for opening LC," the bank official said.
The central bank should increase its supervision on the exchange houses, the official said, adding that although the Bangladesh Bank cannot control the houses directly, it can monitor at what rates banks are buying dollars from these houses. That way, the issue of extra cost in opening LC will become clearer.
The official also said that the trend of opening import LCs has declined in the last two working days as the central bank has increased the LC margin on imports of luxury goods.
Dollar rate Tk97 in kerb market
US dollar is being sold by money exchange houses at Tk96.60 to Tk97 in the kerb market while it is being bought at a rate of Tk96 to Tk96.50 on Sunday.
The rate was the same in the kerb market on Thursday.
It could take some time for the market to stabilise after the recent turmoil, said businessmen of multiple money exchanges in Motijheel and Paltan of the capital.
Ali Akbar of Sugandha Money Exchange in Motijheel said, "Since there is a shortage of dollars in the market, exchange of dollars has been very low."
On 26 May, the Bangladesh Bank decided to introduce a uniform exchange rate following a meeting with the Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB), and the Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers' Association (BAFEDA).
Later on 29 May (Sunday), the Bangladesh Bank unofficially set the import LC settlement rate at Tk89.15 per dollar and the interbank exchange rate at Tk89.