Cashless transactions get a fillip
After receiving his monthly salary through a bank account, Siddique Ahmed Rubel, an employee of a nongovernmental organisation, used to withdraw a large portion of his earnings through ATM booths in order to meet expenses. However, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought drastic changes to his lifestyle as he now hardly carries cash. Around 70 per cent of my monthly earnings are spent through DFS platforms, which are a highly secured and comfortable means to make transactions. As a result, cashless transactions have increased significantly in recent months and this has had a positive impact on the economy as a whole. For instance, the country has to count more than Tk 9,000 crore in transactions each year due to its heavy dependence on cash, according to a Bangladesh Bank report prepared in 2019. Shops and banks have to bear the most—33 per cent each—for using cash followed by corporate entities 13 per cent, the government 10 per cent and individuals 6 per cent. Ecommerce transactions, a vital component of DFS, totalled Tk 598 crore in December last year, up 123 per cent year-on-year. Transactions through mobile financial services (MFSs) also posted magnificent growth during the same period as underprivileged people are now embracing branchless banking windows in bigger numbers than ever. MFS transaction grew 36 per cent year-on-year to Tk 57,253 crore in January. The use of both credit and debit cards did indeed hit an all-time high in December last year, Bangladesh Bank data shows. Total card loans held by lenders stood at Tk 1,561 crore in December, which is a fresh record in terms of the lending amount. December’s figures are up 8.84 per cent from that of a month earlier and 23.78 per cent year-on-year. Clients also posted a new spending record through debit cards as the figure stood at Tk 18,795 crore, up 8.44 per cent from that of a month earlier and 16.51 per cent year-on-year.
Stocks extend rally riding on major sectors
Stocks extended the winning streak for the second straight session on Thursday as bargain hunters showed their buying appetite for sector-specific large-cap issues. DSEX, the key index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), went up by 65.80 points or 1.17 per cent to settle at 5,647. DSEX added roughly 83 points in the past two consecutive sessions. The daily trade turnover on the DSE, however, stayed below Tk 8.0 billion-mark at Tk 7.13 billion, which was more than 10 per cent lower than the previous day’s Tk 7.95 billion. However, investors lost their appetite for newly-listed shares of Mir Akther Hossain, which passed off its third trading day, sending its stock price almost 10 per cent down to Tk 90.20 a share, making it the day’s worst loser. Mir Akhter, which raised Tk 1.25 billion through initial public offering (IPO) recently, surged more than 85 per cent in the past two trading days from its issue price of Tk 54 each. Market-cap of the DSE rose to Tk 4,793 billion on Thursday, from Tk 4,767 billion of the previous day. The Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) also kept gaining with the CSE All Share Price Index – CASPI -advancing 165 points to settle at 16,331 and the Selective Categories Index — CSCX — rising nearly 100 points to close at 9,853.
Unilever profit hits 5.6b euros in ‘volatile’ year
LONDON, Feb 04 (AFP: Consumer goods group Unilever on Thursday said its net profit dipped to 5.6 billion euros last year as the coronavirus pandemic boosted sales of sanitizers but tarnished beauty products. Profit after tax, equivalent to $6.7 billion, fell by 0.8 per cent compared with the level in 2019, the company said in an earnings statement. Despite a pandemic impacting its businesses around the world, Unilever has continued moving forwards. Ongoing restructuring to position the group further toward digital commerce will hold back earnings in the near term, perhaps explaining the market’s lack of enthusiasm for the numbers this morning. Unilever had a notable 2020 also as it became a wholly British company.
Meghna Bank signs MoU with Star Cineplex
Meghna Bank Limited has recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Star Cineplex on the premises of the Star Cineplex at SKS Tower in the city’s Mohakhali. Under the agreement, credit and debit cardholders of Meghna Bank will enjoy 50 per cent cashback on movie tickets at all branches of Star Cineplex.