Taka deflates more against US dollar
The exchange rate of the local currency depreciated further against the US dollar on Wednesday after 22 days despite the central bank’s foreign currency support to the commercial banks. The exchange rate of Bangladesh Taka (BDT) depreciated by two paisa on the day against the greenback, mainly due to higher demand for the US currency in the market, the operators said. The US dollar was quoted at Tk 82.92 each in the inter-bank foreign exchange market on Wednesday against Tk 82.90 of the previous working day, they added. On January 22, the exchange rate of the local currency depreciated by two paisa against the US dollar on the same ground. The US dollar was quoted at Tk 82.90 each in the inter-bank forex market on January 22 against Tk 82.88 of the previous working day. The latest revised exchange rate came in the inter-bank forex market just one day after depreciation of the BDT by five paisa against the US dollar at customer level. The exchange rate of the US dollar rose to maximum Tk 83.40 for sale of Bill for Collection (BC) on Tuesday from maximum Tk 83.35 of the previous working day, according to the market operators. The banks also quoted the US dollar at maximum Tk 82.40 on Tuesday against Tk 82.35 of the previous working day to the remitters for telegraphic transfer (TT) clean of their funds. “We’ve re-fixed our BC selling and TT clean rates in line with the market requirement,” a senior treasury official of a leading private commercial bank (PCB) told the FE. The depreciating mode of BDT against the greenback may continue in the near future also, mainly due to higher import payment obligations, he hinted.
Bank savers can smile again
Though the recent rise in interest rates has become a bane for borrowers, it is a boon for savers, especially for retirees and others who live off their savings. The rate hike was a side-effect of a Bangladesh Bank policy meant to push down the loan-deposit ratio to 83.5 percent by June from 85 percent. Over a dozen banks with higher LDR are now scuppering for deposits to bring down their ratio, and in the process, have pushed up the interest rates on deposits by two percentage points to 9 percent. Some troubled institutions, which are in acute liquidity crisis, are offering double digit rates for deposits.
North Korean hackers behind $81m cyber theft from Bangladesh Bank
Hackers from North Korea pulled off one of the biggest cyber heists in history when they stole $81 million from Bangladesh’s central bank, America’s top spymaster told lawmakers on Tuesday. National Intelligence Director Dan Coats told Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that North Korea poses a major threat to cybersecurity globally and the US in particular.
Bangladesh Bank sells $8.0m more to six banks
The central bank of Bangladesh has sold US$8.0 million more to six commercial banks to meet the growing demand for the greenback in the market. “We’ve sold the foreign currency to the banks on Wednesday at market rate to settle outstanding letters of credit (LCs) against imports particularly fuel oil, food grains and capital machinery for power sector,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the BBN in Dhaka.
Recap of public banks again on the cards
The government again moves to give funds for recapitalisation of state-owned banks (SoBs), officials said, amid criticisms from economists about sending public money “down the drain”. The financial institutions division (FID), under the ministry of finance (MoF), convened Wednesday a meeting attended by managing directors of SoBs and representative of Bangladesh Bank. Secretary of the financial institutions division Eunusur Rahman chaired the meeting. Until last September, the state-run commercial and specialised banks had a combined capital shortage of nearly Tk 150 billion, which, officials said, got bloated to Tk 200 billion by now. The government had earmarked Tk 20 billion as budgetary allocation to recapitalise the banks in need. The Basel-III regulatory framework has raised capital-adequacy requirement for banks, which most SoBs fall short of. Sources present at the meeting told the FE that the bank bosses requested the government to provide the funds as capital inadequacy hampers their business. To justify their plea for the bailout, some of the chief executives told the meeting that they provide nearly 40 types of services to people on behalf of government without charging any fees. If the government allows them to charge at least 1.0 per cent commission on the services, the banks can earn a significant amount of money which can help them replenish their capital to some extent, they said. The meeting thus decided that the central bank will prepare a guideline to this effect and the MoF will take decision after scrutinising the modality.
BB appoints 24 PFIs for Japan FDI project
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has selected 24 banks and financial institutions as participating financial institutions (PFIs) for providing 7,033 million Japanese Yen (equivalent to Tk 5,445 million) in loans under a foreign direct investment (FDI) promotion project. A signing ceremony with 19 banks and five FIs was held at Jahangir Alam conference room of the central bank headquarters in the city on Wednesday, in presence of BB governor Fazle Kabir.
SBAC Bank inks deal with BB for JICA-funded FDIPP
The South Bangla Agriculture and Commerce (SBAC) Bank signed an agreement with Bangladesh Bank (BB) for JICA-funded ‘Foreign Direct Investment Promotion Project (FDIPP)’ at a ceremony in the capital recently, says a statement. Md Golam Faruque, SBAC Bank’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), exchanged the document of the contract with BB officials after signing the agreement. Fazle Kabir, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Abu Hena Moh. Razi Hasan, Deputy Governor, Ahmed Jamal, Executive Director, Shafiuddin Ahmed, SBAC Bank’s Head of ID and representatives of JICA were also present on the occasion.
No reason to reject China consortium’s proposal: BSEC chief
There is no basis for turning down the Chinese consortium’s proposal to buy 25 percent stakes in Dhaka Stock Exchange and become a strategic partner, said M Khairul Hossain, chairman of the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission. At the same time, the proposal from the National Stock Exchange of India will also be considered as they have successfully handled demutualisation of its bourse, he told The Daily Star yesterday. “It will be better if we can engage both the investors.” Hossain’s comments come amid reports of the BSEC and DSE being at loggerheads over the winning bidder. The country’s premier bourse’s hunt for a strategic partner comes as part of its conditions for demutualisation in 2013, which transformed it from an entity owned by mostly brokerage-owning members into a for-profit company owned by shareholders.
PDB receives bids for 300MW power import from India
State-run Power Development Board has received bids from four Indian companies to import 300 megawatts power for 15 years. ‘We have opened the financial proposals submitted by four Indian companies for short-term and long-term power imports from India,’ the power board chairman, Khaled Mahmud, told New Age on Wednesday. On February 11, the PDB opened the bids participated by the four companies both for short-term and long-term power supply. According to the readout price of the bids, PTC India Limited quoted the lowest price for electricity supply from June 1, 2018 to December 31, 2019 while NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN) quoted the lowest price for the supply from January 1, 2020 to May 31, 2033, he said. The power board will complete evaluation of the financial proposals and award the contracts in two weeks, Khaled said.
BD fabrics, apparel makers display products at trade shows in Paris
Bangladeshi fabrics and apparel manufacturers are displaying their latest products, especially fancy and value added items, at trade shows in Paris, France to lure potential buyers. They are among 1,023 exhibitors from 27 countries, including China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Turkey, and Korea, participating in the exhibitions namely Apparel Sourcing, Texworld Denim and Texworld Paris. The exhibitors put on display fabrics, finished apparel items and accessories in the four-day shows that began on Sunday last, organised by Messe Frankfurt, one of the largest trade fair companies in the world. A total of 19 out of 21 fabric and apparel makers from Bangladesh are showcasing their products under the platform of Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). The rest three companies could not attend the shows over visa complexities, organisers said.
Civil servants likely to get large subsidised home loans
The government contemplates doling out around Tk 9.80 billion in annual subsidy to civil servants to help them buy homes, which drew critical appreciation, though. Sources said the ceiling of home loan for the government employees would also be raised to Tk 7.50 million to the maximum from the previous maximum loan amount of only Tk 120,000, as per the government plan. A senior official of the Ministry of Finance told the FE that the requisite amount of annual subsidy for them was calculated considering disbursement of Tk 4.0 million as house-building loan each to some 70,000 civil servants at subsidy rate of 3.5 per cent on their loan. A seven-member committee constituted by the Finance Division under the Ministry of Finance (MoF) prepared a report on the plan recently and sent it to the Cabinet Division for approval. It assumed availability of housing credits from the commercial banks or financial institutions at 8.5 percent interest for house building of civil servants. As per the plan a loan-recipient must pay at least 5.0 percent interest, which is equivalent to the existing bank rate, against such housing loan and the government would provide the remaining interest to the commercial banks or financial institutions concerned as subsidy. The amount of annual government subsidy to civil servants on this account might change with the variation in the number of loan-recipients and the amount of borrowed money, said a senior MoF official. This planned subsidy to members of the bureaucracy would be in addition to all the already-prevailing facilities and incentives they are receiving, the official added.
Four operators get govt nod for 4G services
The government yesterday approved the telecom regulator’s recommendations to provide licences to four operators for the fourth-generation (4G) mobile service. The nod from the high-ups came after the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) suggested the government award the licences to the four operators. After the approval, the regulator sent letters to Grameenphone, Robi, Banglalink and Teletalk in the evening and asked them to pay the licence fees amounting to Tk 10 crore before the award ceremony. The licences will be formally handed over on February 19 at a ceremony at Dhaka Club, said Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of the commission. Each operator will also have to pay Tk 150 crore in bank guarantee to fulfill the 4G rollout obligation.
Uber launches service for longer trips inside Dhaka
Uber yesterday announced the launch of uberHIRE in Dhaka to cater to trips of longer duration for daylong meetings, shopping or to simply explore and travel around the city. This is the fourth Dhaka-based product from the world’s largest on-demand ridesharing company. Hiring a vehicle for two hours alongside 25 kilometres (km) of travel will cost a minimum Tk 850. For four hours and 40km, it will be Tk 1,500, the company said in a statement. When the limits are exceeded in both cases, Tk 22 will be charged for every km while Tk 4 for every minute. The total fare will be calculated at the end of the trip.
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)||$ 61.24||↑0.64||↑1.06%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 64.82||↑0.46||↑0.71%|
|Gold Spot|| $ 1,353.82||↑3.09||↑0.23%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.20|
|GBP 1||BDT 116.54|
|EUR 1||BDT 103.64|
|INR 1||BDT 1.30|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.