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DHAKA: Cash-strapped Bangladesh asked Saudi Arabia for extended credit on oil supplies, Dhaka’s foreign ministry said, as the South Asian nation grapples with dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

Saudi Arabia supplies more than half of Bangladesh’s crude imports, but Bangladesh has been hit hard by the global surge in energy and food prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

At the same time the taka has depreciated about 25 percent against the US dollar, driving up costs for petrol distributors and power utilities that have rippled across the rest of the economy. Nationwide blackouts of up to 13 hours a day hit the electricity grid last year and the government offered food relief for households unable to afford rice and other staples.

In a meeting Wednesday with Riyadh’s ambassador, foreign minister A.K. Abdul Momen asked Saudi Arabia to consider supplying crude and refined oil “on a deferred payment basis”, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

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