The central bank of Bangladesh has increased the amount of credit available to exporters for the second time in three months, in response to rising demand for the facility from apparel firms.

The Bangladesh Bank (BB) has raised its export development fund (EDF) to US$800m, up from the $600m agreed in November. The move is intended to help the country's exporters to meet their short-term liquidity requirements.

Under the EDF scheme, the central bank provides short-term finance to exporters through commercial banks to help fund raw materials, accessories, spare parts and packing materials under export letters of credit. There is a single borrowing limit of $10m.

New provisions also mean that mills registered with the Bangladesh Garments Accessories and Packaging Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGAPMEA) will be eligible for the EDF loans along with the members of Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA).

Bangladesh's export earnings grew by 7% to $12.60bn in the first half of the current fiscal year, compared to the same period a year ago, according to the state-run Export Promotion Bureau (EPB).