Stocks fall as bank, telecom issues plunge
The banking sector witnessed the highest correction of 0.94 per cent with the prices of 23 banks closing lower out of 30 listed banks. Telecommunication sector also lost 0.65 per cent as the sector heavyweight Grameenphone’s share price fell Tk 2.50 each to close at Tk 387.40. DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), went down by 16.16 points or 0.28 per cent to settle at 5,603 after gaining 34 points in the previous day. The DS30 index, comprising blue chips, fell 6.49 points to finish at 1,967 and the DSE Shariah Index shed 4.83 points to close at 1,270. The trading activities, however, continued to increase as total turnover on the Dhaka bourse stood at Tk 6.33 billion, which was 3.60 per cent higher than the previous day’s turnover of Tk 6.11 billion. A total of 135,486 trades were executed in the day’s trading session on the DSE with trading volume of 184.77 million securities. The market capitalisation of the DSE came down to Tk 3,964 billion on the day which was Tk 3,969 billion in the previous session. United Power topped the DSE turnover chart for the second straight day with 808,902 shares worth Tk 286 million changing hands. The other turnover leaders were IPDC Finance, Baraka Power, Beximco and Khulna Power Company.
ATMs to be phased out
Banks have started to replace the traditional automated teller machines with cash recycler machines (CRM) that also allow cash to be credited in real time. Unlike an ATM that just allows cash withdrawal, a CRM accepts cash, counts the notes, authenticates them and credits the amount to the bank account in real time, reducing the manual labour for the service for banks. So far, three banks — Southeast, City and United Commercial — have installed 56 CRMs, with 166 more on the way over the next one year. Southeast Bank has installed 12 CRMs in Dhaka city; by the end of March next year 50 more would be deployed. City Bank will not install a traditional ATM anymore, said Mashrur Arefin, additional managing director of the bank, which has installed 10 CRMs thus far. Another 50 machines would be installed by June next year, he said. United Commercial Bank was the first to install the CRM in Bangladesh. The bank set up its first CRM in January last year near the land registry office at Rupganj of Narayanganj under a pilot project.
Pharma winning global markets
Pharmaceuticals export has crossed $100-million mark for the first time in the country’s history, according to the Export Promotion Bureau. Export earnings from the sector hit $103.46 million in 2017-18, up 16.03 percent from a year ago thanks to improved compliance by the local manufacturers. Shipment of pharmaceutical products registered an average 14.6 percent growth between 2011 and 2016. Local players dominate Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical industry. Square Pharmaceuticals is the major player with 18.8 percent share. Incepta holds 10.2 percent share, Beximco 8.5 percent, Opsonin 5.6 percent, Renata 5.1 percent and Eskayef 4.5 percent, according to the Bangladesh Association of Pharmaceuticals Industries.Bangladesh exports pharma products to 144 countries and caters 97 percent of the domestic need. Per capita consumption of medicine in Bangladesh was about $15.36 in 2017. In 2012, the local market size stood at Tk 9,390.4 crore and rose to Tk 18,755.6 crore in 2017, according to IMS Health Care Report 2017. Two effective policies have accelerated the growth of the sector. One was the Drug Control Ordinance 1982, which banned foreign companies from selling imported pharmaceutical products in the country last year, according to a research of LR Global, an asset management firm. The other was the relaxation of the World Trade Organisation’s agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which permitted Bangladesh to reverse engineer patented generic drugs. The relaxation of TRIPS for least developed countries has been extended to 2032.
Rice bran oil: exports on the rise
Bangladesh’s rice bran oil is gradually making headway in the international market thanks to manufactures’ efforts to sell the antioxidant-rich edible oil abroad. The country shipped more than 20,000 tonnes of rice bran oil for the second consecutive fiscal year in 2017-18. They exported the item to more than a dozen countries, including India, the US, the UK, Australia and Japan in 2017-18, fetching $21 million, according to the Export Promotion Bureau. The export volume of rice bran oil was 17,515 tonnes in 2015-16. The export volume reached that level in less than a decade after some local rice millers joined the foray to extract oil from rice bran, banking on Bangladesh’s strides in rice yield. Today the sector, which began its journey in 2009, has 14 firms with an annual production capacity of more than 2.50 lakh tonnes of rice brain oil. Yet, the active mills cannot use the full capacity because of the dearth of supply of raw materials. A study by the Bangladesh Tariff Commission (BTC) in 2015 found that the industry needs about 13 lakh tonnes of rice bran to make the most of the capacity. Refined rice bran oil faces higher tax in India compared to that of crude oil, added Ali. Mim International exported 500 tonnes of crude rice bran oil in 2017.
Make corporate governance code mandatory for all: experts
Every public and private entity should follow the corporate governance code to protect stakeholders’ interest as part of ensuring sustainable growth of the companies, audit experts said. The code was made mandatory for listed companies, but non-listed ones should also follow the guideline to bring transparency in auditing and accounting activities. Corporate governance code issued by the BSEC” organised by the Institute of Internal Auditors Bangladesh (IIAB) at the Audit Bhaban in Dhaka on Tuesday. The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) issued the corporate governance guideline in 2006, made it mandatory in 2013 and reissued it under the name “corporate governance code” on June 3, 2018. The council is formed following the financial reporting act, which was originated in the US 20 years back. The council is now present in 51 countries. Over 20,000 companies are running operations in Bangladesh. Only 305 of them are listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange.
MFIs face capital shortage
The Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA) in its Annual Performance Agreement (APA) has identified major challenges facing many MFIs. Capital shortage, clients’ lack of awareness about their rights and responsibilities and their little financial literacy are among the key problems. The sector also needs skilled manpower for microcredit operations and greater use of information technology (IT). The MRA signed the APA with the government in June. Clients need to be sensitised to their rights and responsibilities. The MFIs have still a long way to go in this regard. According to the APA, the MRA has taken multiple strategies to meet the challenges in the sector. The MFIs are mainly dependent on clients’ savings, bank loans, funds at subsidised rates from Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF) and other sources. Credit disbursement by registered micro-finance institutions stood at Tk 787.67 billion at the end of June 2016, with a growth rate of 24 per cent, compared to the previous year. Savings by the clients now account for 34.91 per cent and cumulative surplus stands at 35 per cent, making the sector largely self-financing, said the report. In another development, the PKSF’s contribution to the microfinance sector has been declining since 2011.
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