ABB elects new board of governors
The Association of Bankers, Bangladesh Limited (ABB) held its 20th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at MTB Tower in the city Saturday, said a statement. A new Board of Governors for the association was elected at the AGM, which will remain in office for the two-year term 2018-2019. Syed Mahbubur Rahman, Managing Director & CEO of Dhaka Bank Limited was elected as the Chairman, while Shafiqul Alam, Managing Director of Jamuna Bank Limited and Sohail R. K. Hussain Managing Director & CEO of The City Bank Limited were elected Vice Chairmen of ABB. President & Managing Director of Bank Asia Md. Arfan Ali was elected as the Secretary General, while Managing Director & CEO of Pubali Bank Md. Abdul Halim Chowdhury was made Treasurer.
BB gets two new EDs
Laila Bilkis Ara and Md Shah Alam have recently been promoted to the posts of executive director of Bangladesh Bank. Prior to the promotion, Shah Alam had been serving the central bank as general manager while Laila was posted in Rajshahi office of the central bank, according to statements issued by the BB. Both Lalia and Alam joined the central bank as an assistant director in 1988.
Banks’ excess liquidity shrinks as cheaper credits fare well
The overall excess liquidity with the commercial banks fell substantially in November this year mainly due to higher credit growth, particularly in the private sector. Officials said the central bank also sold significant amount of US dollar in the recent months, contributing to help the commercial banks reduce their liquidity. The excess liquidity came down to Tk 900 billion in the first week of November last from Tk 1.06 trillion in the last week of June, according to latest statistics of Bangladesh Bank (BB). It was Tk 1.23 trillion in the last week of December last year. “A significant amount of local currency has already gone to out of circulation as the central bank sold the US dollar to the banks,” a senior official at the BB said. An amount of Tk 79.29 billion entered into the BB’s vault in exchange of US$ 972 million sold by the central bank to the banks during a period from July 01 to December 21 this year, according to a BB report obtained by the FE.
Regulator creating rules to tighten corporate governance
The securities regulator has drafted corporate-governance guidelines with the code of conduct for directors to ensure transparency in board affairs alongside accelerating a company’s growth. Officials said the draft rules of the trade also include a provision of furnishing explanation on declaration of stock dividend and significant deviation from any parameter between the quarterly periods. The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) has sought public opinion on the draft of corporate-governance guidelines, meant for disciplining activities of business houses. After receiving public opinion, the regulator will finalise the guidelines governing corporate entities. The draft states that a company’s board of directors shall lay down a code of conduct for all board members and senior management of the company. The company’s code of conduct will cover, among others, prudent conduct and behaviour, confidentiality, conflict of interest, compliance with laws, rules and regulations, and protection and proper use of company assets or property.
Govt extends timeframe to apply for loan facility till March 31
The supervisory committee of the capital market refinancing scheme has extended the timeframe to apply for loan facility till March 31, 2018 from existing deadline which ends on December 31, 2017. The deadline was extended on Sunday at a meeting of the supervisory committee of the refinancing scheme. Mohammad Saifur Rahman, an executive director of the securities regulator, said the committee extended the timeframe to ensure complete utilisation of the fund earlier disbursed by the government. “The government has also reduced the interest rate on loans under refinancing scheme following the plea made by borrowers,” Rahman said.
Banks lead stock market bull run in 2017
Banks led the capital market bull run in the outgoing year as investors injected huge amount of funds in the financial scrips with an expectation of better gains. Market operators said low deposit rates at the banks prompted investors to channel their savings into the stock market. Banks have been continuously lowering their deposit rates in recent months due to huge amount of idle fund at their disposal. The average share prices of the bank sector soared by 51 per cent over the year amid optimistic purchasing of bank shares by investors, market operators said.They said that investors preferred the financial stocks as the share prices of the scrips were lower compared with that of the other scrips.
Lafarge Surma to buy Holcim Bangladesh at price set by Bangladesh Bank (BB)
Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd has approved the acquisition of Holcim Cement (Bangladesh) Ltd at the price of BDT 5.0478 billion set by Bangladesh Bank after making amendment to a previous valuation for acquiring hundred% shares (88,244 shares) of Holcim by Lafarge Surma in line with the Bangladesh Bank approval dated September 17, 2017. The share prices of Lafarge Surma continued to slump from September to December 20 when investors were uncertain about the company’s merger with Holcim after the central bank rejected their valuation in September. The share prices of the company came down to BDT 51.4 on December 20 from BDT 66 on September 11. However, The trading of the shares of Lafarge Surma at the DSE became halted on Sunday as the prices of the company’s shares hit the circuit breaker (10%) after soaring to 9.94% as investors rushed to buy the company’s shares when they heard the merger-related development. In August, Lafarge Surma sought the central bank’s approval to remit BDT 9.360 billion to the Netherlands for completing buying of Holcim shares. The BB, however, rejected the valuation saying that the deal overvalued Holcim shares. The central bank, later, set the acquisition value at BDT 5.0478 billion and it asked the company to remit the fund within one month. But, Lafarge Surma did not remit the amount within that time. The BB gave 90 days more to remit the money after the company sought extension of time.
IDRA clearance on the rise
A number of fresh applications from big infrastructures projects were submitted to the insurance regulator, seeking its approval for insuring with foreign insurers hindering opportunities for local insurance companies. Industry insiders said this is a clear violation of the existing act. Some more applications are now awaiting approval. People familiar with the development told that such two applications seeking ‘no objection certificate (NOC)’ were submitted to the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA). Earlier, the insurance regulator approved a few such applications including much-talked-about Rampal Power Plant project despite the fact that Sadharan Bima Corporation (SBC) raised objection to it. It usually argues in written to the IDRA about its capacity of handling such risk coverage. Regulation dictates that any public property will have to be insured, out of which 50% will go to SBC and the remaining 50% to the private insurance companies. However, there is provision for overseas insurance coverage if the authority thinks that the SBC and local insurers will not be able to handle such risk coverage. Insiders believe, bypassing SBC and local insurance companies in favor of foreign insurance companies is motivated to launder money outside. Insurance industry insiders say that due to such type of insurance from overseas parties, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has been incurring losses as it is not getting adequate amount of resource as value added tax (VAT). Local Insurance companies have also been missing significant opportunities.
City Bank arranges $26m debt financing for Doreen Group power plant
City Bank recently arranged a fund for setting up a HFO-based power plant of Banco Energy Generation Limited owned by Doreen Group with a capacity of 53.9MW in Munshiganj. AKA Bank and Commerzbank of Germany provided ECA (Euler Hermes)-backed debt funding worth a total of $26 million through City Bank to implement the project, according to a statement.
BGB opened the 8th and 9th branches of Shimanto Bank in Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf
Major General Abul Hossain, chairman of Shimanto Bank Ltd and also the director general of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) opened the 8th and 9th branches of the bank in Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf recently. Managing Director & CEO of the bank, Muklesur Rahman also present in the ceremony.
Only 5% budget deficit met in four months
The government has been able to meet only 5% of the budget deficit in the first four months of the 2017-18 fiscal year, official data show. This fiscal’s estimated deficit is Tk1,12,276 crores. Of the amount, Tk5,610 crores are surplus due to low expenditure in the July-October period. During the same period last fiscal, the deficit surplus was Tk1,393.3 crores.
Negotiations on with foreign firms for fuel import
Government’s petroleum agency began negotiations with term suppliers of petroleum to import around 1.30 million tonnes of diesel, jet fuel, furnace oil and octane for the first half of next year. Officials said the state-run Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) would fix premium rates to import the refined petroleum products from the suppliers during the January-June (H1) period of 2018.
Apparel exports saved by sturdy dollar
The favourable US dollar-taka exchange rate has lent a helping hand to apparel exporters in the outgoing calendar year, cushioning the fallout from the uncertain political climate in the Western world. In the first 11 months of 2017, Bangladesh exported garment items worth $26.40 billion, up 1.38 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Export Promotion Bureau. At the start of the year, the greenback traded between Tk 78 and Tk 79 and during the course of the year it crawled up. On December 20, it traded at Tk 83.20. “The current exchange rate is favourable for exporters. We should handle the exchange rate softly,” said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh. He went on to suggest that the dollar can be allowed to appreciate to up to Tk 85.
Another power hub at Payra to cost $12b
A move is underway to create a 9,000mw power generation hub at Payra of Patuakhali in the southwestern region of Bangladesh, reports UNB. Disclosing the plan, State Minister for Power and Energy Nasrul Hamid said Payra would be another power hub like the two others being developed at Maheshkhali and Matarbari in Chittagong in the eastern region of Bangladesh. “We’ve drawn up the plan for Payra power hub considering the uplift of the country’s southern region, which remained under-developed, compared to other regions of the country,” he told reporters while visiting the construction site of a 1320 MW power plant, now being installed in the area.
Rs 250b Indian projects to boost trade with BD, bordering states
To facilitate trade with bordering countries like Nepal and Bangladesh, India will link its major highway corridors to international trade points at a cost of Rs 250 billion (Rs 25,000 crore), Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said. About 2,000 kilometres (km) of highways will be constructed under the plan, according to a report by indiatimes.com. “About 2,000 kms of highways will be constructed to link major highways corridors to international trade points,” the road transport and highways minister told PTI. The plan is aimed at facilitating trade with Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, he said. The project is part of the Bharatmala Pariyojana, he added.
Real estate companies get positive response
A five-day REHAB (Real Estate and Housing Association of Bangladesh) Fair 2017 ended Monday receiving positive response from both the realtors and customers. Held at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC), the fair drew a huge number of visitors on the concluding day, a public holiday on account of X-mas Day. While visiting the fair venue, the FE correspondent found that a huge number of visitors were making queries with representatives of the real estate companies at the stalls to discuss about flats and land plots.
1.1m Bangladeshis to go abroad with jobs by this year
Since the government is following a strict policy to ensure safe migration, some 1.1 million (11 lakh) Bangladeshi workers would go abroad with employment by the end of this year as the overseas job sector is witnessing a boom. “The overseas job markets are witnessing a boom and 0.997 million (9,90,728) Bangladeshi workers have already gone abroad till December 21 this year,” Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam said in the capital on Sunday, reports BSS.
BD backpedals on mobile internet while neighbours advance fast
While the world mobile-download speed increased over 30 per cent in 2017, Bangladesh backpedaled more than 7 per cent to stand ahead of only two war-torn countries, reveals a survey. Pakistan, meanwhile, has seen its mobile-download speed shoot up by 56.2 per cent during the same period, while In India, it increased by 42.4 percent, says the survey report of Speedtest. The research also found Bangladesh currently having an average download speed of 4.97 megabytes per second-less than one-fourth of the global average of 20.28 Mbps. With such low download speed, Bangladesh currently stands 120th out of 122 countries in the latest Speedtest index. Only two countries, namely Iraq and Libya-both ravaged by wars in the Middle East-are placed behind Bangladesh on the information superhighway via mobile internet.
BTRC to scrutinise overseas VASP activities
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has initiated a move to scrutinise activities of all overseas telecom value added service providers including Indian Hungama (Bangladesh) Pvt. Limited with emphasise on the VAS provider’s fund repatriation from the country. The move of the telecom regulator came following repatriation of around Tk 13 crore by Hungama, a fully owned overseas entity incorporated in Bangladesh in the year 2010, from Bangladesh against its investments of only Tk 2 lakh in the country.
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)||$ 58.50||↑0.03||↑0.05%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 65.25||↑0.00||↑0.00%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,278.14||↑3.98||↑0.31%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 82.65|
|GBP 1||BDT 110.52|
|EUR 1||BDT 98.12|
|INR 1||BDT 1.29|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.