The credit growth slightly improved to 16.6% in June, the same rate set in the latest monetary policy for December this year from 16.4% in previous month, according to the Bangladesh Bank data. The total loan to the private sector stood at Tk6,69,700 crore at the end of FY’16 compared to Tk5,74,600 crore towards the end of FY’15. The growth trend is expected to remain steady in the coming days turning back from upward trend, said Allah Malik Kazemi, change management advisor to Bangladesh Bank. He explained that as the government borrowing from banking system is still negative, the private sector credit growth will rise in slower pace in the coming months. The banking sector is still awash with excess liquidity due to not having government borrowing and the situation will remain unchanged if the government does not borrow from bank instead of saving instruments. The amount of excess liquidity stood at Tk1,18,000 crore as of June, slightly lower from Tk1,21,000 crore in December last year, according to the central bank data. The private sector credit growth was 13.2% in June of FY’15, far below from the ceiling of 15.5% set in the monetary policy.
Banks’ consumer loans double to Tk 50,508cr in 2 years
Outstanding amount of banks’ consumer loans almost doubled in two years, surpassing Tk 50,000 crore as of March 31, 2016 as the country’s business sector has been going through a dull situation in recent years amid political uncertainty and delicate law and order situation. According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, the outstanding consumer loan figure increased to Tk 50,508 crore as of March 31, 2016 from Tk 46,008 crore as of March 31, 2015. The outstanding amount of consumer loans was Tk 27,512 crore as of March 31, 2014. The outstanding amount of consumer loans increased by 83.58 per cent in last two years, the BB data showed. A BB official told New Age on Sunday that banks in the period disbursed consumer loans two to three times more than their outstanding amount. Banks usually set short-term repayment tenure against most types of consumer loans. So, the repayment trend in such types of loans is better than that of industrial loans.
Even as recently as 4-5 years ago, it was inconceivable to many low- and middle-income households in Dhaka city to aspire to own property of their own, and get out of the expensive rental trap. Now, that dream is within the grasp of many. An apartment in Mirpur, which was selling at Tk 5,000-Tk 6,000 per square feet about five years ago, is now available at Tk 3,500-Tk 4,500, said Sardar Md Amin, vice-president of the Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh (REHAB), the industry group. Similarly, the prices of a flat in Dhanmondi have dropped as low as Tk 10,000 per square feet from the peak of Tk 22,000 four years ago. The prices have also dropped in other areas. The apartment prices fell 20 to 30 percent over the last couple of years from its peak in 2011-12, said Toufiq M Seraj, managing director of Sheltech (Pvt) Ltd, one of the leading developers. The correction in property market came after realtors registered steady growth in demand since the turn of the millennium. With newly-found wealth and rising purchasing power, people started to buy plots and apartments, channelling their incomes into the sector.
The government has taken on a cautionary approach for hard-term external borrowing to mitigate future risks even though there is no longer such condition from the International Monetary Fund. From now, the government has decided to consider foreign loans with grant element lower than 35 percent to be hard-term ones. The IMF set the condition in its Extended Credit Facility loan programme that was taken in 2012, but the programme’s tenure ended in June last year. Earlier, the government followed that if the grant element was lower than 25 percent the loan was considered to be hard-term. A policy was drafted regarding hard loans, which was approved last week by the cabinet committee on economic affairs. In taking such loans, the government agencies must take approval from the standing committee on non-concessional loans, according to the policy.
Bangladesh ranks among riskiest countries for business
Bangladesh is one of the top extremely risky countries, susceptible to protests, mass demonstrations and violence, according to rankings by a London-based risk analysis company. The country ranked sixth in the top extremely risky country category in the latest quarterly Civil Unrest Index (CUI), devised by Verisk Maplecroft. Bangladesh is however in a better place than India, which ranked fourth, and is only ahead of Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Burundi, among a ranking of 198 countries. Maplecroft has put together a Civil Unrest Index that ranks almost 200 countries in terms of their exposure to protests, mass demonstrations, ethnic or religious violence. The political risk dataset enables companies to identify and compare risks that impact their global operations, supply chains and investments. This time, it featured up to five years of data for 43 risk indices covering 198 countries, the company said on its website. Fourteen indices, quantifying regulatory and political violence risks, such as civil unrest, terrorism and resource nationalism risk, are updated on a quarterly basis to enable the identification of trends and emerging developments across dynamic risk issues.
Bonded warehouse facility misuse on rise in Chittagong
The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) officials have so far caught red-handed eight business enterprises in the port city over the past nine months which sold goods in the local market, violating the stipulated condition of the bond facilities. The errant business enterprises are Liberty Group, Sunrise Accessories Ltd, Golden Son Ltd, Daf Packaging Industries Ltd, Taj Accessories Ltd, Ms Chittagong Carton Ltd, Ms JS International and Sea Tex Ltd. Of them, CIID officials found that Liberty Group and Golden Son Ltd were involved with the anomalies for three times. The errant businesses imported different products like polypropylene, low-density polyethylene, high-density polyethylene, yarn, net fabrics, polyester yarn, electric fan, duplex board, rubber thread and polyfilm and poly piling. On Thursday, Customs Intelligence and Investigation Directorate (CIID) officials filed a departmental case worth around Tk17 crore against Liberty Group for misusing bond facilities by selling imported raw materials in the local market. A team of CIID inspected the factory of Liberty Group located in Bahadderhat area of the city and found shortage of 1,500 metric tons of polypropylene granules.
Primary textile millers yesterday urged the government not to hike the gas price afresh as it will erode their competitiveness. Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company proposed Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission hike the gas price by 130 percent to Tk 19.26 per cubic metre from Tk 8.36. “We will lose the competitiveness and lose our markets as well, if the gas price is hiked again within the gap of one year,” said Tapan Chowdhury, president of the Bangladesh Textile Mills Association. The millers made the demand at an inter-ministerial meeting held at the textiles and jute ministry in Dhaka, chaired by Mirza Azam, state minister for textiles and jute. The proposed 130 percent hike means a 460.77 percent real impact on the industry, as the government doubled the gas price last September to Tk 8.36 per cubic metre from Tk 4.18 per cubic metre, Chowdhury said.
After merger Robi cannot sell Airtel numbers for two years
Robi-Airtel won’t be able to sell any of Airtel’s 016 coded number two years after the official date of merger. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has imposed the mandatory condition to Robi. According Robi-Airtel merger proposal, the merged company Robi will have to abide by 13 conditions. Robi and Airtel signed a merger agreement on January 28, this year. As per the deal, the joint venture will be operated under the brand name of “Robi”. Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has recently approved the merger proposal of mobile phone operators – Robi and Airtel, paving the way for first such initiative in Bangladesh. On July 24, the telecom division forwarded the summary of the merger proposal to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her consent as she is also the minister of posts and telecommunications. Before sending it to the PMO, the regulatory body included 13 conditions which restrict the merged entity not to sell any 016 coded numbers two years after the date of merger.
Exports to the United States grew slower in the first half of the calendar year than the year-earlier period affected by sluggish economic recovery in the country’s single-largest destination for overseas sales, according to new data. A study, conducted by the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA), also revealed that the US-based fashion companies are more cautious about revving up sourcing from Bangladesh. The country fetched USD 2.8 billion from the US marking 1.3% growth during January to June period of 2016 compared to the corresponding period of last year, the data from Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) affiliated with the US Department of Commerce have showed. Export earnings grew by 4.1% during the first quarter of 2016, the data revealed. Out of the total receipts, the readymade garment (RMG) fetched USD 2.7 billion during the first half of the current calendar year. Export earnings from non-apparel items, including shrimp and plastic products, stood at USD 118.0 million during the January to June period registering a 2.9% negative growth. On the other hand, Chinese apparel exports witnessed a negative growth of 5.2% to USD 12.0 billion in the first half of this year. Meanwhile, the garment exports of Vietnam grew by 3.2% to USD 5.1 billion and India’s slight 0.9% to USD 2.0 billion during the same period.
Big rush for building furnace oil-fired IPPs: 44 firms submit bids for 10 units
A total of 44 local and foreign firms have submitted bids to build 10 new furnace oil-fired independent power plants (IPPs) in different locations across the country. Among the companies are the country’s leading private sector power companies, including Summit, Orion and United, a senior official of the state-owned Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) told the FE. Some Sri Lankan and Chinese firms also dropped bid documents on close of the submission deadline on Sunday. BPDB floated tender for plants to generate around 1,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity in total with the generation capacity of 100 MW each. This is BPDB’s first tendering to implement oil-fired power plant projects after 2011. Over the past five years it had awarded around a couple of dozens oil-fired power plants, including the rental and quick-rental ones, under a special act bypassing tender, said the officials.
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