Bangladesh seeks Saudi support to meet energy demand
State Minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam has said Bangladesh needs “brotherly support” from Saudi Arabia to fulfil its energy demands amid the global oil crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine war. He made the remark while Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Bangladesh Essa Yousef Essa Al Duhailan paid a courtesy call on him at the foreign ministry here on Monday, a foreign ministry press release said.In reply, the envoy assured that he would take up the oil supply issue with the concerned Saudi stakeholders, reports BSS.During the meeting, the Ambassador expressed satisfaction at the state of excellent bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia which is growing rapidly in various fields including political, economic, defence, manpower, business, trade and investment.The envoy apprised the State Minister about the follow-up of the visit by the Saudi Deputy Interior Minister to Dhaka in last November 2022.He also updated him about the increasing engagement of Saudi investors in various fields including potential Saudi investment in the EEZ earmarked for Saudi Arabia.
Short-term foreign loans allowed for import
Businesses will be able to import eight essential items centring upcoming Ramadan by taking short-term loans from foreign sources, said Bangladesh Bank yesterday. This facility for edible oil, chickpea, pulse, pea, onion, spices, sugar and date will remain applicable till March 2023, according to a central bank notice.Importers will have to settle the letters of credit (LCs) within 90 days under supplier’s and buyer’s credit.Buyer’s credit refers to finance for payment of imports arranged by the importer or buyer from a bank or financial institution outside of Bangladesh.Supplier’s credit refers to credit extended for imports directly by the overseas supplier instead of a bank or financial institution.A BB official said a majority of banks have been facing a shortage of dollars in recent months, which was why they were showing reluctance to open LCs for import, and the new facility would give respite to banks.Earlier this week, the central bank asked banks to take a minimum cash advance, known as LC margin, from importers while opening LCs for the commodities in order to keep their prices at a tolerable level during Ramadan and ensure smooth supplies.
High cost of living takes a toll on bank deposits
The deposit growth in banks of Bangladesh has slowed as many people saw their capacity to save dwindle amid the higher cost of living.The deposit situation has aggravated further as a section of savers preferred to invest in alternative areas, namely property after they became frustrated by a very low-interest rate offered by banks and the withdrawal of savings by a section of people to cope with elevated inflation.The development is said to limit banks’ capacity to lend and do business.Data released by the Bangladesh Bank showed that total deposits of the scheduled banks increased 8 per cent year-on-year to Tk 157,63,70 crore during the July-September quarter of 2022, the lowest deposit growth in five years.On a quarter-to-quarter basis, overall deposits ticked up only 0.16 per cent in the third quarter of 2022 from Tk 15,73,823 crore in April-June, according to the Quarterly Scheduled Bank Statistics released by the BB on Monday.