Money market: BDT demand falls after slashing CRR
The demand for Bangladesh Taka (BDT) in the country’s money market fell recently as slashing the cash reserve requirement (CRR) by the central bank of Bangladesh. After improving supply of fresh funds, the weighted average inter-bank call money rate and weighted average yield on Bangladesh Bank (BB) Bills dropped significantly in the recent days, according to market operators. All 57 scheduled banks of Bangladesh are enabled to use BDT 101 billion additional fund since April 15 after implementation of revised CRR rules. Under the revised rules, the banks will have to maintain 5.50 per cent instead of 6.50 per cent CRR with the central bank from their total demand and time liabilities on a bi-weekly basis.
Bangladesh Bank sells $ 20m more to eight banks
The central bank of Bangladesh has sold US$20 million more to eight commercial banks to meet the growing demand for the greenback in the market. Taking to the BBN, a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said the central bank sold the foreign currency to the banks on Monday at market rate to settle import payment bills. The US dollar was quoted at BDT 82.98 in the inter-bank forex market on the day unchanged from the previous level, according to the market operators. He also said the BB may continue providing such foreign currency support to the banks in line with the market requirement.
BB won’t give licence to new money exchanges: Traders still queuing up to get nod
Bangladesh Bank (BB) is not issuing licence to operate new money changers, considering the present ‘over saturation and chaotic state’ of the business, said officials concerned. The central bank also thinks that there is no opportunity to issue licence now for operating new money exchanges in line with its existing policy. BB conveyed its opinion to Ministry of Finance (MoF), as MoF recently sought its view about the issue. However, a number of entrepreneurs are showing interest to set up new money exchanges, they added. The government had issued licences to 636 money changers from 1997 to 1999, according to BB data. Some 234 licensed changers are now operating in the country, and the number is much higher than the market size, a high official of BB said. Besides, a good number of money changers are allegedly engaged in endorsement and encashment of foreign currencies defying the central bank’s rules. Under the BB guideline, licensed money changers are allowed to run operations without having any branch. But many of them are conducting business with more than one branches, violating BB rules. Operations of the existing exchanges are also seriously hampered due to these illegal money changers.
Reserve heist: BD wants to settle issue out of court
As the legal procedure is taking a long time to get back stolen reserve money from the Philippines, the government of Bangladesh is keeping its option open for settling the issue out of court, officials said. Finance Minister AMA Muhith may have a bilateral meeting with governor of Philippines central bank Nestor Espenilla in the first week of next month in Manila on the sidelines of an annual meeting of the board of governors of Asian Development Bank (ADB). Officials said during the meeting with Mr Espenilla, the Bangladesh finance minister may express the hope for settling the matter out of court among other issues. During the meeting, he may also request Mr Espenilla to direct the authorities concerned to expedite the court process for settlement of the issue. The Philippines central bank will also be requested to instruct the RCBC to settle the issue with Bangladesh Bank immediately. Deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan told the FE that the central bank has informed the minister about the latest situation of stolen money and the court battle in Manila as he (minister) is scheduled to have a meeting with the Philippines central bank governor.
Card use finally spreading
Bangladeshi consumers are slowly but surely warming up to the idea of using cards, especially debit cards, to make payments, with the total number of cards in circulation expanding 15.45 percent last year. About 17 lakh debit, credit and pre-paid cards were issued last year to take the total to 1.27 crore, according to data from the central bank. Among the various plastic card products, debit card was the most popular: at the end of 2017, a total of 1.16 crore debit cards were in circulation, in contrast to 76.9 lakh two years earlier. However, the number of credit cards declined 4 percent year-on-year to 9.09 lakh in 2017. “Banks are now extensively expanding their card business to reduce the use of cash,” said Faruq Mainuddin Ahmed, managing director of Trust Bank. One of the reasons for the spike is the various incentives being offered by banks to encourage the use of cards with a view to promoting a cashless society. Private banks issued 94.58 percent of the cards, followed by foreign banks at 3.79 percent and state banks at 1.6 percent. Of the total transactions, 86 percent was for withdrawal of money from cash machines, according to a survey conducted by the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management titled “IT operations of banks”.
Trade-based money laundering on the rise: BIBM finds in a survey
Trade-based money laundering is a growing concern for the banking industry amid rapid expansion of foreign trade, according to a recent survey by the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management. Bangladesh’s external trade stood at about $80 billion in 2016-17 and it has been growing thanks to the steady economic growth over the past decade, it said. Among the trade-based money laundering techniques, over- and under-invoicing of goods and services and misdeclaration of goods are commonly used in Bangladesh, the survey on trade services operations of banks found. Money laundering is facilitated by collusion between importers and exporters and bank officials are sometimes forced to get involved in the illegal transactions, it said. A lack of proper price assessment is responsible for money laundering through foreign trade activities, said Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, supernumerary professor of BIBM. The report quoted a Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) case involving several fake firms that were attempting to release restricted items imported in 12 containers through the Chittagong port by declaring them as capital machinery.
IPDC set to launch BD’s 1st digital supply chain finance platform
IPDC Finance Limited, Bangladesh’s first non-banking financial institution (NBFI), has moved one step ahead to launch the country’s first digital supply chain finance platform with ‘Blockchain’ technology to offer easy and low-cost credit to micro and small enterprises (MSEs). For developing such online-based financing mechanism, which is named IPDC-Orjon, IPDC Finance Ltd signed a grant contract with Business Finance for the Poor in Bangladesh (BFP-B) at a hotel in the capital on Tuesday. Addressing the agreement-signing ceremony, officials involved with the initiative said shifting from traditional and manual lending practices, IPDC took the comprehensive supply chain financing solution which will enable MSEs to get easy and collateral-free finance through factoring, reverse factoring, work order and distributor financing.
Brac Bank featured at Sohn Investment Conference
Brac is “the best way to play the Bangladesh growth story,” said a noted American hedge fund manager Monday. Rashmi Kwatra, founder of Sixteenth Street Capital, has picked Bangladesh’s Brac Bank during a session titled “Next Wave Sohn” at the Sohn Investment Conference on Monday in New York. While commenting on Brac’s bKash service, she said: “It [Brac] is the leader in mobile payments.” According to Investopedia, the Sohn Investment Conference, now in its 23rd year, is arguably the most respected and influential hedge fund gathering in the world.
BSEC chief Khairul to get another term
The government has extended the tenure of Dr M Khairul Hossain as the chairman of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) by two more years. The Ministry of Public Administration issued a notification in this regard on Tuesday. The notification said that Khairul Hossain will continue in the position of BSEC chairman for another two years starting May 14, 2018. He will continue to have a rank of senior secretary. The conditions of his contract will remain unchanged.
Extend cooperation to LDC graduated countries
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith has urged the international community to extend cooperation to those countries graduated from the LDC status in a bid to ensure smooth graduation and thus maintain the continuity of development, reports BSS. “Bangladesh is firm to face the post LDC graduation challenges,” the Minister said while delivering the country statement at the 3rd Forum on ‘Financing for Development (FFD)’ organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held at the UN headquarters, said a handout received yesterday. At the very outset of his statement, Muhith highlighted the policies framed and progress achieved by the present government under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a bid to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Revenue shortfall forces govt to wind down budget: Targets fiscal deficit within 5.0pc of GDP in FY ’18
The government has wound down this fiscal year’s budget by 7.25 per cent to Tk 3.71 trillion after a large shortfall in internal revenue collection and lower execution of development work. In June last, Finance Minister AMA Muhith placed a Tk 4.002-trillion budget for fiscal year 2017-18, which he himself termed ‘ambitious’. The Ministry of Finance recently finalised the revised budget obtaining approval from the government’s high-up, officials said. A senior finance official said the poor implementation of Annual Development Programme (ADP) and a large amount of revenue shortfall against its target were the main reasons why the authorities slashed the budget size. “The government wants to keep the budget deficit within 5.0 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Exporters demand more incentives
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) assured Tuesday the exporters to consider their demands for providing equal budgetary facilities to all export-oriented sectors. “This year we will try to provide equal budgetary facilities to all export- oriented sectors. If we can do this, it would help increase the export volume of other sectors along with readymade garment,” Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, chairman of NBR said. The NBR chairman’s comment came at a pre-budget discussion meeting with exporters at its office in the city where they (exporters) demanded equal budgetary measures, including reducing corporate tax. Leaders from Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), Exporters Association of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA), Leathergoods and Footwear Manufactures and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB), Bangladesh Terry Towel and Linen Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BTTLMEA) and Bangladesh Frozen Food Exporters Association (BFFEA), among others, spoke in the meeting.
Dutch see Bangladesh as SE Asian investment gateway
Dutch businesses want to use Bangladesh as a gateway for investing in South and Southeast Asia as the country has the potential to be a regional hub for foreign investment. The observation came at a high-level seminar on Bangladesh’s investment and business, at a hotel in The Hague on Monday. The Dutch-Bangla Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DBCCI) organised the event in association with Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and with support from the embassy, the Dutch foreign affairs ministry and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. A 43-member business and government delegation from Bangladesh and potential Dutch investors and importers attended the seminar styled “Bangladesh Emerging Big: A Beacon of Opportunities”, the Bangladesh embassy in the Netherlands said in a statement yesterday. Kazi M Aminul Islam, executive chairman of the BIDA, and Guido Landheer, deputy director general of the Foreign Economic Relations of the Dutch ministry, represented the respective sides. Top Bangladeshi executives from leading agriculture and aquaculture companies and sectors involving ICT, dredging and delta management, port development and operation, food processing, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, energy, renewable energy, jute and leather products joined the seminar.
Congestion of ships eases at Ctg port
Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Chairman Zulfiqur Aziz yesterday said management reforms, yard capacity enhancement and equipment purchases have eased congestion of ships awaiting berth and reduced their turnaround time to 2.58 days in March. The authorities will hold discussions with importers to try to predict and cope with increased volumes of products arriving ahead of Ramadan and the annual budget, he said. Aziz was exchanging views with journalists on the eve of the 131st Chittagong Port Day. The country’s trade volume is forecasted to reach around 14 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) by 2043, he said. But the port will not be able to handle over 7 million TEUs even after completion of projects such as Potenga Container Terminal, Laldia Multi-Purpose Terminal and Bay Terminal by 2028, he said.
Garment makers seek full waiver of source tax
Garment makers, the country’s main export earners, yesterday sought full waiver of source tax on export receipts for three years as a helping hand as they look to hit $50 billion in shipments by 2021. At present, the tax authority collects 0.70 percent tax on total export proceeds from major export items, including garment. The amount of source tax collection from apparel shipment would not be more than Tk 2,000-2,500 crore on export receipts of $30 billion, said Siddiqur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. “This is not a big amount,” he said in a meeting with high officials of the National Board of Revenue ahead of formulation of tax measures for fiscal 2018-19. The government plans to frame a budget of more than Tk 400,000 crore for the next fiscal year. There would be no big impact if the source tax is not collected from garment exporters considering the sector’s contribution to direct and indirect job creation, he added. “So, please waive the tax,” he added. The plea from garment exporters comes at a time when apparel shipments are on the rise.
Venture Capital Assoc seeks policy support for tech sector
The Venture Capital and Private Equity Association of Bangladesh (VCPEAB) called on the government to withdraw stamp duty on Collective Investment Scheme (CIS). It also sought tax exemption for the Alternative Investment Fund Managers and High Net Worth Individuals (HNI). Association Chairman Shameem Ahsan and Secretary General Shawkat Hossain made the pre-budget proposals at a meeting with National Board of Revenue (NBR) Chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan at the NBR office in the city on Monday. Shameem Ahsan, also general partner of Fenox Venture Capital and Chairman of eGeneration Group, said that as evidenced in Silicon Valley and other major tech hubs, venture capital plays a significant role in nurturing the IT & ITES start-ups and entrepreneurs. With proper policy support, more venture capital investment will enrich the IT sector, he added.
Import of IoT devices needs prior approval
The telecom regulator has made it mandatory for businesses to get enlisted and take prior approval to import Internet of Things (IoT) devices. A fee of Tk 25,000 will be charged for enlistment, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission said in a directive. However, importers will be exempted from such fee and approval if they bring in devices with only 2-watt power output capacity. They, however, will have to pay Tk 5,000 as the application fee and Tk 500 as the processing fee. Internet of Things is the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the internet (and/or to each other). IoT devices include everything starting from cellphones, coffee makers, water, and waste management tools, lamps, agriculture, wearable devices, car parking and lighting to airplane engines. Many businesses are interested to import IoT devices in bulk, which has prompted the BTRC to introduce such rules, an official said.
Beximco exports third item to US market
Beximco Pharmaceuticals has started the export of its third item -Methocarbamol (500mg and 700mg) to the United States. Following the successful marketing of Carvedilol and Sotalol in August 2016 and November 2017, respectively in the world’s largest pharmaceuticals market, the first consignment of its third item was delivered on this April 21, said a press release today. Methocarbamol is generic equivalent to muscle relaxant drug Robaxin from Auxilium Pharmaceuticals. According to IQVIA market data, the US market for Methocarbamol is currently valued at USD 23.37 million. Beximco Pharma managing director Nazmul Hassan, MP, said: “We will continue to focus on growing our portfolio in the US, which we believe will be a major export market for Beximco Pharma in the coming years.” “We remain focused on our strategic goal to bring high quality, differentiated products to both developed and key emerging markets to create value for our customers and shareholders,” he added.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 67.66||↓0.04||↓0.06%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 73.77||↓0.09||↓0.12%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,328.89||↓1.46||↓0.11%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.78|
|GBP 1||BDT 117.13|
|EUR 1||BDT 102.43|
|INR 1||BDT 1.26|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.