Oil prices hurt Bangladesh

Dhaka, August 18:

Soaring oil prices in the global market have started biting the economy of Bangladesh, with economists and business leaders calling on the government to act promptly to cope with the situation.

They have suggested that the government go for austerity measures to cope with the negative impact of soaring oil prices, which touched a record $67 a barrel last week. The experts are advocating that the government extend the weekly holidays to two days and change office timings as immediate measures that would cut fuel costs even as oil prices are expected to go up to $75 a barrel.

Authorities of the Bangladesh Bank, the central bank, are anxious as the surging oil prices are eating into the foreign exchange reserves, which were 2.83 billion on August 13, a bank official said. Two state-run commercial banks are also in trouble because they have not got back their loans from the BPC.