Bangladesh Bank widens refinance scheme
Allows more people to borrow from the Tk 500cr fund. Bangladesh Bank yesterday increased the volume of a refinance scheme dedicated to marginal and landless farmers, low-income professionals and small businesses.The central bank rolled out the fund worth Tk 200 crore in 2014, but it has since widened the amount to Tk 500 crore given the ongoing economic hardships brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier, underprivileged people who are allowed to open accounts with an initial deposit of Tk 10 got loans from the fund but now, Tk 50 and Tk 100 account holders can also avail the scheme.
Under the programme, clients can borrow with a 7 per cent interest rate instead of the previous 9 per cent.In addition, banks are allowed to manage the fund from the central bank scheme by paying 1 per cent interest in contrast to the previous 4 per cent. Clients can secure loans from the scheme without any collateral.An individual will be permitted to take a maximum of Tk 5 lakh from the scheme, which has a repayment tenure of three-and-half years, including a six-month grace period.
Dollar gets pricier on rising imports
The cash dollar rate increased by Tk0.40 over the past one week to stand at nearly Tk88 on Sunday.
The cash US dollar rate increased by Tk0.30 to Tk0.40 over the past one week and is currently trading at nearly Tk88.The LC (letter of credit) rate also rose by Tk0.30 in the past week to reach Tk85.25 on Sunday.The dollar crisis has prompted the Bangladesh Bank to backtrack on its dollar buying spree and sell dollars to banks in order to keep the market stable.The Bangladesh Bank bought a record $8 billion US dollars in the fiscal 2020-21 amid low imports and high inflow of remittance.However, since August this year, the Bangladesh Bank has sold $305 million dollars to banks, according to the central bank’s data.
In July this year, Bangladesh’s imports registered a 21.63% growth while the growth in exports was negative 10.59%, leading to a crisis of dollars.Moreover, inward remittances that kept the market affluent with dollars during the pandemic situation have become sluggish since the beginning of the current fiscal year. This also has put pressure on the dollar market.The inflow of remittance from expatriate Bangladeshis dropped by 19% year-on-year in the first two months of this fiscal year. The remittance inflow registered a 50% year-on-year growth in the first two months of last fiscal year.
Sirajul Islam, executive director and the spokesperson of the Bangladesh Bank, told The Business Standard that the demand for dollar is increasing in the wake of increased LC price payments for importing Covid vaccines and a rise in imports of capital machinery in recent months.The dollar rate will return to the normal level if exports increase in proportion to the rise in imports, he added.”There is no other sign of the dollar rate going to an abnormal level because we have adequate reserves of dollars. To keep the market stable, we are selling dollars to banks as per the demand,” said Sirajul Islam.
According to the money exchange rates declared by banks on the central bank’s website on 2 September, the dollar rate was highest Tk88.5 in BRAC Bank, NRBC Bank and ICB Islami Bank while most other banks were selling $1 for a price ranging from Tk87 to Tk88.The National Bank of Pakistan was selling cash dollars at the lowest rate of Tk85, while the exchange rate in Bangladesh Commerce Bank was Tk85.6 – the lowest among the local banks.In the open market – also known as kerb market, $1 was being sold for Tk87.8-Tk89 on Sunday while the buying price was ranging from Tk87 to Tk87.3.