Bangladesh's foreign currency reserves stood at $23.56 billion at the end of the week as per the globally accepted definition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the central bank said. The amount is equal to Bangladesh's four months' import bills. It comes after the BB agreed to compile and report the official gross international reserves as per the balance of payments and international investment position manual (BPM6) of the IMF.

The reserves stood at $29.97 billion if the central bank's traditional calculation method is followed. The IMF has urged the central bank to report the actual reserves by deducting the funds allocated under the Export Development Fund and other schemes. The country's foreign exchange reserve has been falling for more than a year due to higher import payments, particularly in the purchase of primary fuels, and lower than expected export earnings and remittance inflows.

Russian state-owned company Gazprom is going to receive the drilling work of five more gas wells without any tender. The Russian firm may also secure the drilling work at the gas fields discovered by Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (BAPEX) in Bhola. Added to this, Gazprom may receive work on gas exploration and the company has been in talks with the government on this matter. A company is offered work without a tender under the Quick Enhancement of Electricity and Energy Supply (Special Provisions) Act, which is known as the indemnity act.

To date, BAPEX has discovered three gas fields in Bhola district, which are in Shabazpur, Bhola North and Ilsha. Two wells will be drilled in Shabajpur and Bhola North each and these four wells will be development wells, which are drilled to start gas extraction. An exploratory well will be in the middle of these two gas fields. Processes are being finalised to give the drilling work of these five gas wells to Gazprom.

Five more deaths were reported from dengue in 24 hours till Thursday (July 13) morning, raising the fatalities from the mosquito-borne disease in Bangladesh to 93 this year, reported our sister newsagency UNB. During the period, 1239 more patients were hospitalised with the viral fever, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). With the new deaths, the total number of deaths in dengue rose to 93 this year while the total number of cases rose to 17,382.

Some 4,069 dengue patients are still undergoing treatment while 13,220 were released. The government has fixed Taka 50 instead of Tk 100 for fees to test dengue at public hospitals for the next one month. Experts urged authorities concerned to conduct extensive drives identifying clusters of Aedes mosquitoes as soon as possible. Total number of deaths from dengue was 281 last year, the highest ever, while the total number of cases was 62,382.

Bangladesh will import liquefied natural gas from Malaysia as the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs in a meeting this week approved in principle a proposal of the state-owned Petrobangla in this regard. 'Malaysian company Perintis Akal Sdn Bhd will supply the LNG on a long term basis and Petrobangla will buy it under the Speedy Supply of Power and Energy (Special) Act 2010,' said Sayed Mahbub Khan, additional secretary of the Cabinet Division, while briefing on the outcomes of the meeting.

Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal presided over the meeting held virtually, also attended by state minister for power, energy and mineral resources Nasrul Hamid. However, no details were disclosed about the proposal, placed by the Energy and Mineral Resources Division on behalf of Petrobangla, the state hydrocarbons agency. The proposal will be placed in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Government Purchase for a final approval. Malaysia would become the third country to export LNG to Bangladesh on a long term basis.

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