DHAKA, Jan 22 (Reuters) - Bangladesh's trade deficit widened by more than $1 billion to about $4 billion in July to November, the first five months of the current fiscal year, compared with the same period of the previous fiscal year, central bank officials said Saturday. They said that during the period Bangladesh had exported nearly $8.26 billion worth of products while importing more than $12.25 billion worth of products. Total exports were about $6.1 billion in the first five months of the previous fiscal year and imports about $8.98 billion in the period. "The cost of rice import has shored up in the period compared with the same period of the previous fiscal year," said central bank governor Atiur Rahman. During the first five months of the current fiscal year the cost of rice imports was more than $267.2 million, up from only about $6.0 million previously, officials said. Bangladesh's food import bill is likely to rise by 15 percent to $1.05 billion in the year to June as the government has decided to buy more grains and secure supplies amid soaring prices in global markets. Imports of other food items as well as consumer and intermediate goods and capital goods also saw increased Bangladesh, which badly suffered during the 2008 spike in global food prices, says it wants to build strong reserves of basic commodities such as wheat, rice, oils and sugar to avert a return to similar situation and minimise impact of soaring prices. (Reporting by Serajul Islam Quadir; Editing by Toby Chopra) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +880-2-8332062; RM: email@example.com)) Keywords: BANGLADESH ECONOMY/TRADEGAP (If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. All rights reserved.
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