Stocks keep gaining amid cautious trading
Stocks posted a marginal gain on Sunday for the fourth straight session as some investors bought shares amid cautious trading. Market insiders said securities regulator’s positive move on margin accounts, lucrative price levels coupled with year-end effect helped the market edge up for four straight days. DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), settled at 5,281, advancing 16.45 points or 0.31 per cent over the previous day. DSEX added more than 63 points in the past four consecutive trading sessions. The two other indices finished higher. The DS30 index, comprising blue chips, advanced 8.64 points to finish at 1,850 and the DSES (Shariah) index gained 4.49 points to settle at 1,213. Turnover, another important indicator of the market, remained low as the total turnover dipped to Tk 3.53 billion, which was 24 per cent lower than the previous day’s turnover of Tk 4.63 billion. According to International Leasing Securities, the active presence of the bargain hunters in the final hour, particularly on telecom, bank and power sector issues helped the index close in green. A total number of 102,291 trades were executed in the day’s trading session with trading volume of 89.28 million shares and mutual fund units. Khulna Power Company topped the day’s turnover chart with shares worth Tk 205 million changing hands, closely followed by United Power, IFAD Autos, Paramount Textile and Sonargoan Textile. The port city bourse traded 7.43 million shares and mutual fund units worth nearly Tk 607 million in turnover.
Make taxation progressive, easier to reduce inequality: Experts
Experts at a dialogue on Sunday called for making the country’s taxation system progressive as they dubbed the existing one non-progressive that imposes huge indirect taxes on the poor. The commoners have to pay huge money as indirect taxes, they said at a dialogue on ‘Progressive Taxation to Reduce Inequality’ at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital. Sushasoner Jonny Procharavizan (SUPRO) – Campaign for Good Governance – in association with OXFAM in Bangladesh organised the event. Referring to a survey conducted by the BBS in 2016, the paper said that the wealth of the top five richest people grew by 27.9 per cent while that of the poorest ones rose by 0.23 per cent only. It proves the higher GDP growth rate achieved by the country in recent years is failing to reduce the wealth inequality. To ensure tax justice, the government must recover 100 per cent of tax imposed on the large corporate taxpayers.
WB’s assertive plan for job creation
The World Bank has attached several conditions to its budget support programme that it extended to Bangladesh for three years with a view to creating faster job growth, which has slowed down in recent times. The Washington-based multilateral lender is set to provide $750 million in three equal instalments and the first instalment of $250 million was approved recently. Before the first instalment was approved, the government had to fulfil nine conditions.The conditions include: enactment of the One-Stop Shop Act 2018; placement of the Customs Act 2018 in the parliament; approval of the National Environment Act by the cabinet; passage of the Bangladesh Labour Act (Amendment) 2018; and enactment of the National Skills Development Authority Act 2018. The budget support, which comes after a gap of ten years, was extended because of a slump in job creation since 2010: the growth rate for jobs fell to 1.8 percent in 2010-16 from 2.7 percent in 2003-10. Bangladesh attracted just $13 of foreign direct investment per capita in 2017, which is way lower than the average of $43 clocked in by the lower middle income countries and $148 by Vietnam, the country’s major competitor in foreign trade. Referring to the WB Doing Business Report, the lender said registering a business in Bangladesh costs the equivalent of 22.3 percent of annual per capita income, which is 15 percent in case of neighbouring India and 6.5 percent for Vietnam. The Wage Earners Welfare Board Act 2018 includes raising the allocations for legal assistance for expatriate workers and emergency repatriation for female workers by at least 30 percent from the present allocations of Tk 30 lakh and Tk 57.3 lakh respectively. In the last fiscal year, 13,213 expatriate workers were provided with training, of which 31 percent are females. The WB said the number has to be increased to 19,345 per year, 41 percent of which must be females. Besides, at present there are 294 training centres for workers; this would have to be raised to 500. At least 200 day care centres will have to be set up.
DRC-ICAB gets new chairman, secretary
A.H.M. Ariful Islam FCA and Md. Amran Hossan FCA have been elected chairman and secretary respectively of the Dhaka Regional Committee (DRC) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh (ICAB) for the year 2019.
Awareness of cyber security and safety
Cyber security is the protection of internet-connected systems, including hardware, software and data, from cyber attacks. In the context of computing, security comprises cyber security and physical security-both used by enterprises to protect against unauthorised access to data centres and other computerised systems. Awareness training on cyber security is not just for IT personnel but for all employees who have access to a computer that is connected to the internet through the office server. Such awareness training needs to be tailored for each employee, based on one’s functions and roles within the organisation. In order to be effective, cyber security needs to be part of an organisation’s culture. Despite cyber security awareness projects, Bangladesh had ranked 73rd among 100 nations in the National Cyber Security Index (NCSI), published in May of this year by the Estonia-based e-Governance Academy. The ranking proves that Bangladesh still has a long way to go in ensuring cyber security and cyber awareness. One of the most important groups which should be taught about the importance of cyber security is the youth of the country.
New flight destinations can help Biman’s business
Next year, Biman is scheduled to get four more aircraft including two Boeing 737 under lease agreement by January and two Boeing 787 Dreamliners by September next year. This will increase Biman’s fleet to a total of 17 aircraft by 2019. Colombo and Male are two of the best tourist destinations in South Asia now. Bangladesh’s trade relations with Sri Lanka and Maldives are gaining momentum. The destinations to the capitals of both South Asian countries are a great choice. This is a significant development for Biman. If Biman can continue to keep competitive rates for all five destinations and if its service is on a par with other international airlines, the national carrier’s revenue is likely to increase in the coming year.
Institutional support for small footwear makers
There can be no denying the massive expansion of footwear making in the country, particularly of the low-end variety. The fact that inexpensive footwear caters to the demand of the vast majority of the people makes it clear that small manufacturing units scattered all over the country are doing a laudable job — not just in meeting public demand but also in job creation, without any institutional help. In the capital itself as well as elsewhere in urban locations, shoes and sandals of almost all conceivable varieties are on display in small, makeshift shops and kiosks, even in open spaces occupied by hawkers. A bulk unit is very small run by 2-3 persons. Despite the small size and scale of operation, the workforce engaged in these units is estimated to be 60,000. One notable thing about the employment structure is that women workers account for a considerable share of the workforce – between 20-25 per cent. The Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation (SMEF) which is engaged in helping these units, especially in the form of training, should be more focused on their special needs. Such support may be in product development and marketing.
Ashuganj Power to issue bonds to raise Tk 600cr
State-run Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd is going to raise Tk 600 crore by issuing bonds for the first time. Of the amount, Tk 500 crore will be collected through private placement and the rest through stock markets. The power producer signed an agreement with seven banks and financial institutions to raise the private placement portion of the fund at a programme at the InterContinental Dhaka hotel yesterday to this effect.Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund, Agrani Bank, Rupali Bank, Sonali Bank, Uttara Bank, Sadharan Bima Corporation, and the Investment Corporation of Bangladesh will purchase bonds worth Tk 385 crore. Dutch-Bangla Bank will purchase bonds worth Tk 50 crore, said an official of the Power Division. Bonds worth Tk 65 crore will be sold to other banks and financial institutions later. Bonds valued Tk 100 crore will soon be released through stock exchanges and work on it has already begun, said the official. The yield on the bonds will be 8.5 percent to 10 percent.
Special economic zone on cards for Japanese investors
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) will ink a deal with Japanese Sumitomo Corporation in February to develop a special economic zone for 200 investors from Japan, said a top official. The draft land lease agreement to allow the zone to be built on 1,000 acres of land at Araihazar upazila in Narayanganj has been prepared and is waiting for vetting by the law ministry. Establishment of an economic zone for Japan in Bangladesh is a great move, which will prove that Bangladesh is a lucrative place for foreign investors. According to Beza, Japan International Cooperation Agency, the development arm of the Japanese government, will lend Bangladesh about Tk 1,000 crore at a concessional interest rate to establish the zone. Sumitomo Corporation will invest about Tk 600 crore and would get it back from investors. n November 18, Daisuke Arai, country representative of Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), at a press meet said investment of Japanese companies in Bangladesh had been increasing steadily at a rate of 16-17 percent for the last few years with the majority of investors showing growing interest to expand business. Besides, a survey of Jetro shows that 70 percent of Japanese companies expressed interest to expand their presence in Bangladesh in the next one year and around 60 percent in the next two to three years. The number of Japanese companies operating in the country was 183 in 2014 and it went up to 223 in 2015, 245 in 2016, 260 in 2017, and 269 in 2018, according to the survey.
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)||$ 46.10||↑0.51||↑1.12%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 54.47||↑0.65||↑1.21%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,263.79||↑6.85||↑0.54%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.8024|
|GBP 1||BDT 106.1524|
|EUR 1||BDT 95.2458|
|INR 1||BDT 1.1957|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.