BDT demand in money market dips: The central bank discourages banks to invest excess money in BB bills
The demand for Bangladesh Taka (BDT) in the money market fell drastically mainly due to the recent slash of the cash reserve requirement (CRR) by 1.0 percentage by the central bank. Both the weighted average inter-bank call money rate and weighted average yield on Bangladesh Bank (BB) Bills dropped significantly in the recent days in lockstep with the revised CRR, according to market operators. The weighted average inter-bank call money rate came down to 3.76 per cent on Monday from 4.53 per cent as on April 12 while volume of transaction also fell to Tk 46.66 billion from Tk 78.36 billion, according to the central bank’s statistics. “The ongoing downward trend in the call money market continued on Tuesday,” a BB senior official told the FE without elaborating. On the other hand, the weighted average yield (WAY) on 07-Day BB Bills fell to 1.32 per cent on Tuesday from 2.98 per cent as on April 12 while the WAY on 14-Day BB Bills dropped to 1.28 per cent from 2.98 per cent. Besides, the central bank suspended the auction of 30-Day BB Bills since April 01without official announcement to help mitigate the liquidity crunch in the banking system. The market operators, however, said the central bank is not accepting all bids of the BB Bills in the recent days.
RJSC seeks info on default loan status from BB
The Office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC) has sought information on default loans urgently from the central bank for checking loan portfolio of aspirant directors of registered companies. The issue was discussed at a meeting held Wednesday among the Bangladesh Bank (BB), the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC), the RJSC, the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA), the Micro-credit Regulatory Authority (MRA), the Department of Cooperatives (DoC) and the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). The meeting was held at the central bank headquarters in the capital with BB Governor Fazle Kabir in the chair. At the meeting, the RJSC sought information on default loan from Credit Information Bureau (CIB) of the BB urgently to verify classified loan status of possible directors of new companies that applied for registration, according to meeting sources. They also said the central bank initially agreed to provide the information on default loan from its CIB to the RJSC as it is done for the Election Commission. However, the BB will examine the overall proposals of the RJSC, a BB senior official told the FE after the meeting.
FDI flow drops by 7.7pc last year
Net inflow of foreign direct investment in the country declined by 7.72 per cent last year, with officials attributing the drop-off to geo-political tension, the central bank has said. Statistics available with Bangladesh Bank showed that net inflow of FDI stood at US$ 2.15 billion in 2017, down from $ 2.33 billion a year ago. The seventh Five-Year Plan (7FYP) of the country, however, projected to attract $ 5.87 billion in the current fiscal year (FY18). It appears that actual FDI is much lower than the projected in the medium-term development plan document. The central bank statistics also showed that the gross inflow of FDI was recorded at $ 2.68 billion in the past year, which was $2.82 billion in 2016. Divestment and repayment of loans and loss of the current multinational entities have been deducted from the gross inflow of FDI to calculate the net FDI. Bangladesh Bank also said that more than half of the total FDI originated from the reinvested earnings of the existing multinational firms in the country.
Seven-day BB bills’ yield below 1.0pc
The weighted average yield on seven-day Bangladesh Bank Bills fell to below 1.0 per cent while no bids for 14-Day BB bills were received on Wednesday. The yield on seven-Day BB Bills came down to 0.85 per cent on the day from 1.32 per cent of the previous day, according to Bangladesh Bank officials. Ten bids amounting to Tk 37.95 billion were offered for seven-Day BB bills auction on Wednesday. Of which, two bids amounting to Tk 10 billion were received. On the other hand, 11 bids amounting to Tk 29.21 billion were offered for 14-Day BB bills auction on the same day. But no bid was accepted. “It’s a temporary measure,” a BB senior official said about why no bids for 14-Day BB bills were accepted Wednesday.
Foreign loans getting costlier: BIBM
Increasing LIBOR rate and the appreciation of the greenback against the taka are putting pressure on Bangladeshi businesses that borrowed from foreign sources to meet their needs, according to a report of the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management. If these pressures cause the exchange rate to depreciate further the private sector debt will become costlier to service, said the report that will be unveiled today. Most of the borrowers are importers, meaning they have no source of foreign currency earnings to absorb the pressure. Between 2013 and 2017, the private sector’s commercial borrowing from external sources almost trebled, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank. Last year, the private sector borrowed $11.34 billion from abroad, in contrast to $4 billion in 2013.
Dr Atiur suggests apparel makers’ recourse to BB green fund
Former central bank governor of Bangladesh Dr Atiur Rahman urged local exporters to take advantage of the available low-cost green fund at the Bangladesh Bank (BB) to transform their factories into green ones. If they do so, Bangladesh will become a brand name for green garments in the near future, he said. He also laid emphasis on raising the negotiating skill to get better prices for apparel items of the country. ‘The market may have invisible hands but no souls. Hence we need to improve our negotiating skills to get better price from the buyers of our green garment products,’ he said. The former Bangladesh Bank (BB) governor was speaking as a special guest at the inaugural session of the Green Development Conference organised by Neoster Innovation in the city recently. Mikael Hemniti Winther, the Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh was present on the occasion as the chief guest while Faruque Hassan, senior vice president of Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), was the special guest.
Bank card cloning mastermind held with 1,500 fake cards
The CID has recovered 1,500 cloned cards and equipment to forge cards. Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has detained the mastermind behind the syndicate who allegedly embezzled money by forging debit and credit cards of five different banks. The detainee, whose identity has not been disclosed yet, was arrested from Mirpur Tuesday night. Some 1,500 cloned cards and equipment to forge bank cards were also reportedly recovered from the detainee’s possession, CID Senior ASP Sharmin Jahan said.
Turn Agrani SME Financing Co into state-owned entity
State-run Agrani Bank has urged the government to count its subsidiary Agrani SME Financing Company (ASMEFC) Limited as a state-owned non-bank financial institution, a source said. Deputy Managing Director (in charge) of the bank Md Yousuf Ali made the request in a letter to the Ministry of Finance recently, the source added. ASMEFC was turned into a financial institution in July 2010 with the government approval and the bank’s subsidiary was also registered with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms in October, 2010, according to the letter. Later, the Bangladesh Bank issued licence to ASMEFC to operate as a non-bank financial institution.
Mercantile Bank, iPay sign deal
Mercantile Bank Limited has recently signed an agreement with iPay Systems Limited. Under this agreement, iPay customers will be able to make payment for different utility services through MYCash channel – Mobile Banking Service of Mercantile Bank Limited without any charge. The ipay is the first online payment platform with an E-wallet in Bangladesh which provides real cashless experience, operating under the license from Bangladesh Bank as payment service provider.
SBAC Bank inks MoU with Asgar Ali Hospital
South Bangla Agriculture and Commerce (SBAC) Bank Limited has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Asgar Ali Hospital to facilitate its clients in the hospital. According to the MoU, SBAC Bank clients will get special discount on all services in the Asgar Ali Hospital, says a media release. Mostafa Jalal Uddin Ahmed, additional managing director of the SBAC Bank, and Professor Dr Zabrul SM Haque, chief executive officer (CEO) and also the director (Medical Services) of the Asgar Ali Hospital, inked the deal on Wednesday on behalf of their respective sides.
Mastercard launches Ramadan campaign
Mastercard Bangladesh yesterday announced a campaign to promote digital payments, offering more than 100 prizes to those spending the highest using cards during upcoming Ramadan. The “London Calling with Mastercard” campaign will run from May 1 to June 30, said Syed Mohammad Kamal, country manager of the company, at a programme at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in Dhaka. The top prize is an all-expense-paid 5 days/4 nights couple’s overseas trip to London. Other prizes include travel packages, large-screen TV, air-conditioner, iPhone, wristwatch, dinner coupon and gift vouchers. Spending Tk 1,000 on a Mastercard-branded credit card for a retail transaction will generate 2 points and on debit and prepaid cards for an e-commerce transaction 3 points. Those with the highest points will be adjudged winners. “Our campaign will contribute to making Mastercard even more exciting and rewarding for customers by making them enjoy exclusive offers at over 2,000 renowned lifestyle partners across the country,” said Kamal. The volume of e-commerce is doubling every quarter, said Zeeshan Kingshuk Huq, chief executive officer of e-commerce platform kiksha.com. Credit cards are mostly being used in e-commerce spending, he said, adding that payments made in cash have come down to 48 percent on kiksha.com because of the large-scale use of cards. Banks and financial institutions partnering with this campaign are AB Bank, Al-Arafah Bank, Brac Bank, Bank Asia, Eastern Bank, Dutch-Bangla Bank, Mutual Trust Bank, National Bank, Prime Bank, Premier Bank, Pubali Bank, The City Bank, United Commercial Bank, Southeast Bank, Standard Chartered and Lankabangla Finance.
Prime Insurance reelects chairman, vice chairman
Md Zakiullah Shahid has recently been re-elected as the chairman of Prime Insurance Company Ltd. The company also re-elected Saheda Pervin Trisha as its vice chairperson at a board meeting, the insurer said in a statement yesterday. Shahid is the managing director of Electra International Limited and the chairman of Federal Securities and Investment Limited.
Uniform tariff value for both manufacturers, traders: VAT on LPG
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has fixed a uniform tariff value for both traders and manufacturers of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). Under the new tariff value, traders will, from now on, require to pay the amount of VAT similar to that of manufacturers. Earlier, only manufacturers were enjoying tariff value on payment of VAT on LPG while traders had to pay a flat 15 per cent VAT on their sale value. The VAT wing of the NBR issued a Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO), dated April 9, 2018. Now, tariff value has also been set at Tk 3.0 per for kilogram of LPG at trading stage. However, the tariff value will be applicable only on bulk LPG above 45 kg which is mainly used by industrial purpose.
Bangladesh invites Dutch businessmen to invest
Bangladesh has invited Netherlands to invest, saying Bangladesh is has the geo-strategic potential to become a gateway to the South and South East Asia. The call was placed in a seminar titled ‘Bangladesh Emerging Big: A Beacon of Opportunities’ held at The Hague, reads a press release dated April 23 of the Bangladesh embassy there. The Dutch Bangla Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DBCCI), in association with Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA), with the support of the Embassy of Bangladesh, Netherlands foreign ministry, and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) organised the seminar. Kazi M Aminul Islam, executive chairman of BIDA, highlighting the ongoing development spree in the country and invited the Dutch investors and businesses to join the development journey of Bangladesh for mutual benefits. While speaking at the programme, Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Bangladesh’s ambassador to Netherlands, assured the Dutch investors and businesses full support in their future ventures in Bangladesh.
Indian entrepreneurs looking to work under joint collaboration
Visiting Indian business delegation on Wednesday expressed their keen interest to work with local entrepreneurs for the development of information technology (IT), education, health and banking sectors in Bangladesh. “We would like to work with local entrepreneurs for the development of IT, health, education and banking sectors in Bangladesh,” President of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCC&I) Chandra Shekhar Ghosh said at a meeting with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) at its conference room. Mr Ghosh, who is leading the delegation of entrepreneurs from West Bengal, said there are many similarities between Bangladesh and West Bengal in the arenas of culture, environment, food and others. Bangladesh and India can be mutually benefited from joint collaboration in healthcare, education, IT and banking sectors, he added.
Acquisition of extra land for Padma Bridge: Ministry sticks to demand for addl fund
Road Transport and Bridges Ministry is sticking to its demand for an additional allocation of Tk 14 billion to acquire more land for the Padma Bridge project despite reservation expressed by a government project monitoring body, officials said Wednesday. The state-owned monitoring body — Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) — had raised objection to the demand for funds to acquire 1167.98 hectres of additional lands for dumping of sludge produced from piling work on the river bed. “Minister Obaidul Quader has recently sent a DO (demi official) letter to the Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal seeking additional allocation for the acquisition of more land,” said a senior PC official said.
Linde opens Tk 120cr air separation unit
Linde Bangladesh Ltd, a member of Linde Group’s Gases Division, yesterday inaugurated an air separation unit in Rupganj. The company invested Tk 120 crore for the unit. An air separation plant separates atmospheric air into its primary components, typically nitrogen and oxygen, and sometimes also argon and other rare inert gases. The Rupganj plant will produce about 100 tonnes of liquefied gases per day, making it the largest liquid-producing merchant air separation unit in Bangladesh, according to a statement of the company. The project engineering division, a subsidiary of Linde Engineering, designed, built and managed the construction of the Rupganj plant, which comprises modern energy efficient technology and promises operational reliability. It will provide liquefied gases and related solutions to Bangladesh’s growing healthcare, food and beverage, fabrication, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding and ship recycling industries.
Code of Corporate Governance: BSEC to include suggestions from trade, corporate bodies
Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) will finally incorporate the rational suggestions in the draft Code of Corporate Governance (CCG), proposed by the different trade and corporate bodies and professional institutes, Dr. Swapan Kumar Bala, Commissioner, BSEC said at a conference on Tuesday in the city. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) organised the Members’ Conference on ‘Code of Corporate Governance’ on the day at its auditorium where Dr. Swapan Kumar Bala FCMA was present as the chief guest, said a statement.
Anti-dumping duty: Call to raise awareness among businesses
Speakers at a workshop on Wednesday said businesses should enclose proper documents with the application proposing imposition of anti-dumping duty on the imported products which create unfair competition. They also said there was still confusion among the business community and government officials about BTC and anti-dumping law, which should be clarified in an attempt to safeguard the local industry. The views came at a workshop on ‘Anti-Dumping, Countervailing and Safeguard Measures’ organised by Bangladesh Tariff Commission at its headquarters in the city’s Segunbagicha. Presided over by commission chairman Md. Zahir Uddin Ahmed, the programme was also addressed by commission member (trade policy department) Shah Md. Abu Raihan Alberuni, NBR first secretary (customs policy and budget) Abul Bashar Md Shafiqur Rahman, commission joint chief Rama Dewan, assistant chief Abdul Latif and research officer Mohinul Karim Khandaker.
Minerals, cardamom imports from Bhutan soar
The country’s imports of minerals and cardamom from Bhutan marked a surge in the last calendar year (2017), comparing to the corresponding period. The amount of minerals imported by Bangladesh rose by 255.39 per cent to US$ 37.60 million in the year, from $10.58 million in 2016, a Bhutanese newspaper – Kuensel – reported on Friday. According to it, the neighbouring country exported 2.12 million tonnes of minerals to Bangladesh in 2017, which was 0.423 million tonnes in the previous year. Quoting Tshering Yeshi, general secretary of Bhutan Exporters Association (BEA), the report said the quantity increased due to rise in export of stone chips and boulders. “Stone boulders and stone chips are in huge demand in Bangladesh,” he was quoted as saying.
Ministry plans to import 1.75m tonnes of fertiliser
The Ministry of Agriculture plans to import 1.75 million tonnes of MOP and DAP fertilisers to meet the demand for the upcoming fiscal year 2018-19, reports UNB. According to a government document obtained by the news agency, the requirement was determined through a countrywide survey, conducted by the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) under the ministry. Of the demand, 850,000 tonnes will be met with MOP (Muriate of Potash) fertiliser while the remaining 900,000 tonnes with DAP (Diammonium phosphate) fertiliser. The document also reveals that the entire demand for MOP and DAP will be met through import from foreign sources, both in public and private sectors.
Govt forms committee to create Tk 100b fund for jute sector
The government has set up an inter-ministerial committee aiming to create a low-interest fund of Tk 100 billion to help boost the jute sector. The six-member committee will fix the source of fund and its operational method and make related policy for the proposed fund. It will submit a report to the government within next 30 days and put forward recommendations for creating the soft-loan fund. Once the government launches the fund, jute producers and exporters will get loans at 2.0 per cent interest rate. The committee has been formed with representatives from the finance and commerce ministries, Bangladesh Bank (BB), Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) and Department of Jute.
Top 150 global fashion brands score low in index
None of the 150 biggest global fashion brands could score over 60 per cent in a new transparency index, suggesting that more needs to be done in ensuring transparency in global supply chain. Only 10 of them scored over 50 and only one brand published information related to suppliers of raw materials this year, according to the new index. Fashion Revolution, a campaign group, unveiled the 2018 Fashion Transparency Index that ranked the clothing brands based on transparency across their supply chain. The average score the brands achieved was 21 out of 250, proving that there is still a lot of work to be done. The research found that even the highest scoring brands on the list still have a long way to go towards being transparent.
US-Bangla starts direct flights to China today
US-Bangla Airlines is set to become the first Bangladeshi carrier to traverse Chinese airspace, marking the start of direct flights. A Boeing 737-800 carrying 164 passengers is scheduled to leave Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 10:10pm for Guangzhou, one of the most important cities in the country’s eastern region. The flight will take around 3 hours and 15 minutes, said CEO Imran Asif. There will be six such flights: three will leave for the Chinese city on Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays and three will make the return trip on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, said the airline’s top boss. The minimum one-way fare has been fixed at Tk 30,408 while the return Tk 39,442. Asked, Imran said the flights would support Bangladesh’s businesses in a new way and the airline would offer unique facilities. Only China Southern Airlines now operates direct flights on the Dhaka-Guangzhou route. Guangzhou will be the eighth international destination of US-Bangla Airlines.
Automotive battery market revving up
The automotive battery market size hit Tk 8,000 crore last year on the back of runaway popularity of easy bikes and battery-run rickshaws. Five years ago, the market size was about Tk 2,500-3,000 crore, according to industry players. The demand just took off in the last five years with the popularity of easy bikes and battery-run rickshaws, said Faraaz Rahim, head of international marketing at Rahimafrooz Globatt, the market leader in automotive battery. In the last two years, the market expanded 100 percent, he said. As much as 70 percent of the batteries propelling the easy bikes and battery-run rickshaws are manufactured in China. “Their battery life is at best six to eight months,” said Rawshan Murad, deputy general manager of Hamko Battery. Other than the easy bikes and battery-run rickshaws, the growing popularity of hybrid cars, which is dependent on battery for power, is also driving the market, he said. In the face of growing demand for hybrid cars, which offer better fuel economy than the conventional ones, the government has allowed the import of second-hand hybrid cars from this fiscal year and slashed the supplementary duty. “The import of hybrid cars has surged since the beginning of the fiscal year,” said Habib Ullah Dawn, president of the Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (Barvida). To encourage use of hybrid and electric cars, Barvida sought further slashes in supplementary duty from the new fiscal year.
‘More women participation in ICT to increase GDP by 1.6pc’
Experts at a function today said 82 per cent participation of the girls and women in the ICT sector can increase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1.6 per cent, reports BSS. If the girls and women participation in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector increases to 82 per cent from the current 33.7 per cent, the GDP will increase by 1.6 per cent that would help the government in attaining its target of making the country a middle income one by 2021, they said at a function to publish research findings at BRAC Center in the city.
Grameen Phone to get 63% of proceeds from BR’s fibre lease to 3rd party
Mobile phone operator Grameenphone, which holds the exclusive rights to use 1,600 kilometres of fibre optic cable of Bangladesh Railway under a lease deal, would get 63 per cent of the proceeds if unused portion of the cable network is leased to any third party. As per the approval of the commission, 10 per cent of the lease proceeds would be kept for meeting up regulatory and licensing- related costs. Of the rest amount, GP would get 70 per cent (or 63 per cent of the total proceeds) while BR would retain remaining 30 per cent. The revenue sharing ratio for BR’s dark fibre, leased to Grameenphone in 1997 with exclusive rights, was set considering the payment GP made and its effort to maintain the fibre, the BTRC official said. Grameenphone has got the exclusive rights over the BR’s 1,600 kilometres dark fiber after winning an international tender. The government in 2016 took an initiative to open the fibre optic cable to other mobile phone operators with a view to ensuring its maximum use.
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)||$ 68.41||↑0.36||↑0.53%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 74.42||↑0.42||↑0.57%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,323.54||↑0.41||↑0.03%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.78|
|GBP 1||BDT 116.79|
|EUR 1||BDT 101.97|
|INR 1||BDT 1.25|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.