BB spurns securities regulator’s request
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission, or BSEC, sought the access as part of the government’s efforts to develop the bond market and arrange long-term financing. A committee headed by financial institutions division secretary Ashadul Islam has recommended a number of measures, including the issuance of bonds, to raise fund. Besides, it suggested the Commission create its own database and offer the banks and financial institutions access to it to ensure that defaulters of bonds and debentures cannot secure fresh loans. A senior finance ministry official told the FE that, presently, issuers of bonds and debentures who defaulted on repayment to investors can take out loans easily owing to the absence of reliable information of such debt tools. He said as an alternative to long-term bank loans, the government is attaching high priority to the development of the stock market and issuance of corporate bonds. In a study, the International Finance Corporation, or IFC, said Bangladesh’s fixed income market remains small and under-developed, despite the economy is set to reach US$274 billion. It said the country’s bond market reached only $16 billion or 6.0 per cent of gross domestic product in 2018 while the Indian bond market accounts for 16 per cent of the economic output. The study identified high taxes, regulatory barriers, unclear project pipeline, poor access to investors, high transaction costs for issuers, and competition with other fixed-income products as constraints.
DSEX scales 4,734 on buying binge
DSEX, the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) prime index, crossed the 4,700-mark on Sunday after two-and-a-half months amid investors’ growing confidence in the market. The market opened on a flying note and remained vibrant throughout the session amid strong buying pressure from the investors, including global fund managers. DSEX jumped 169.54 points or 3.71 per cent to settle at 4,734, the highest since December 2, last year. DSEX accumulated 349 points, and DSE market-cap rose to Tk 198 billion in the past four straight sessions, after the Bangladesh Bank (BB) issued a circular confirming fund support to boost the ailing capital market. The central bank on February 10 allowed 59 scheduled banks to form a Tk 2.0 billion special fund for each of them by taking low-interest loans from the BB to invest in the stock market. In line with the soaring index, turnover, another important market indicator, also rose to Tk 9.16 billion on the country’s premier bourse, climbing further by 25 per cent over the previous day’s mark of Tk 7.30 billion. It was the biggest single-day transaction in more than one year since February 14, 2019, when the turnover totalled a record of Tk 9.32 billion. The stockbroker noted that the central bank’s fund supportive measures and the ADB’s lending of $170 million for strengthening the capital market have boosted the investors’ confidence. On Sunday, the gainers took a strong lead over the losers, as out of the 356 issues traded, 293 closed higher, 40 ended lower, and 23 remained unchanged on the DSE trading floor. The Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) followed the suit with its All Shares Price Index – CASPI – soaring 533 points to close at 14,436, and Selective Categories Index – CSCX – rising 325 points to finish at 8,758.
Top ten cos snare one-fifth turnover
Ten most traded firms accounted for one-fifth transactions on the Dhaka Stock Exchange on Sunday. LafargeHolcim topped the chart after a single-day break. Market operators said investors remained active on LafargeHolicm after the Supreme Court had approved amalgamation of its subsidiary Holcim Cement (Bangladesh) with its parent company LafargeHolcim recently. According to data available with the DSE, about 6.63 million shares of LafargeHolcim were traded, generating a turnover of Tk 322 million, which was 3.51 per cent of the day’s total turnover of Tk 9.16 billion. The multinational cement manufacturer’s price closed at Tk 48.50 on Sunday, remaining unchanged over the previous session. The company’s consolidated earnings per share (EPS) in nine months for January-September, 2019 was Tk 1.01 as against Tk 0.42 for January-September, 2018. The LafargeHolcim, which was listed on the DSE in 2003, disbursed 10 per cent cash dividend for the year ended on December 31, 2018. The company’s paid-up capital is Tk 11.61 billion and authorised capital is Tk 14 billion while the total number of securities is 1.16 billion. The turnover of Indo-Bangla Pharma was Tk 153 million. The company’s share price shed 1.20 cent to close at Tk 24.60 each. Summit Power featured a turnover of Tk 150 million. The company’s share closed at Tk 42.40, gaining 1.68 per cent. The turnover of SS Steel was also Tk 150 million. Its share price rose 4.51 per cent to close at Tk 13.90 each. Singer Bangladesh featured a turnover of more than Tk 148 million. The company’s share closed at Tk 176.20, gaining 1.97 per cent. Paramount Textile also made its way to the day’s top turnover chart, with shares worth Tk 147 million changing hands. The company’s share price advanced 0.16 per cent to close at Tk 61.60 each.
LGED implements Tk 4.25b rural road project
A rural road network project has been implemented in Rajshahi division aimed at removing physical bottlenecks for improving rural accessibility and enhancing the sustainability of rural transport and market services. Implementation work of the Tk 4.25 billion (Tk 425-crore) project, titled “Improvement of Rural Roads, Bridges, Culverts and other Infrastructure of Backward Upazilas” were completed recently. A total of 53 disadvantaged upazilas in Rajshahi, Naogaon, Natore, Chapainawabganj, Pabna, Sirajganj and Bogura districts were brought under the six-year project implemented by Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), said Abdul Maleque Sarker, Additional Chief Engineer of the LGED. With the project intervention, more than 105.70-kilometre (km) upazila roads, 323-km union roads and 502.74-km village roads were improved besides construction of 1,000-meter bridges and culverts on the improved roads connecting important places of upazila and every union with Union Parishad and next higher road network. Apart from that, 15.75-km submergible roads and 4-km road protection infrastructures were constructed. The rural level improved infrastructures have already started reducing transport costs, improving marketing system, increasing production and marketing facilities of agricultural products which are contributing a lot to socio-economic development of the project area. As a whole, the project has started contributing enormously to raising the standard of living and livelihood condition in the remote villages.
Int’l incoming voice call rate Tk 0.51 per minute
The telecom regulator has slashed the international incoming voice call rate by 66 per cent to only US$ 0.006 or Tk 0.51 per minute due to drastic fall in earnings from the segment in recent years. Earlier, the call rate was around Tk1.50 per minute. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) issued a circular dated February 13 on the new call rate with immediate effect. Legal voice calls have currently gone down to about 20 million minutes a day as compared to around 100 million minutes a few years back, according to the BTRC officials. Termination of international calls was one of the main sources of earnings for the government even five years back. But it fell substantially in recent years. The government’s earnings from such calls was Tk 20.75 billion in fiscal year 2014-15, but it declined to Tk 13.87 billion, Tk 9.67.63 billion, Tk 9.0 billion and lastly to a few hundred million taka in the following years till 2018-19 respectively, according to the BTRC officials.
Soaring post office deposits to come crashing down
Savings accounts in post offices saw soaring deposits in recent years thanks to high interest rates offered by the government to tempt people in the suburbs and rural areas to use formal channels for parking their funds. Deposits in ordinary accounts in post offices more than doubled to Tk 2,930 crore in fiscal 2018-19 from Tk 1,325 crore four years earlier, according to data from the Department of National Savings (DNS). A similar trend has been seen in cases of fixed deposit accounts in post offices. Savers deposited Tk 13,950 crore in fiscal 2018-19 in fixed deposit accounts in post offices, which was more than two and half times the deposits received in fiscal 2014-15. Until February 12, the finance ministry offered as high as 11.28 per cent interest on a three-year fixed deposit account with post offices, which is higher than the interest rates given by banks. In case of ordinary accounts in post offices, the interest rate was 7.5 per cent, which is also higher than the rates offered by banks for savings accounts. However, the government’s latest move to cut interest rates on savings in post offices has created frustration among savers and is likely to bring down savings and encourage the return of illegal MLMs. For example, interest rate on three-year term fixed deposits was reduced to 6 per cent from 11.28 per cent as the government aims to bring down interest rates in bank deposit and lending. The government’s total outstanding liability stood at Tk 289,267 crore as of June 2019. Of the amount, ordinary accounts and fixed deposit accounts in post offices were 13.97 per cent.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||4,734.15273||↑ 169.54205||↑ 3.78 %|
|↓ 25.23||↓0.09 %|
|FTSE100||7,409.13||↓ 42.90||↓ 0.58 %|
|Nikkei 225||23,500.38||↓ 187.21||↓ 0.79 %|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 52.05||0.00||0.00 %|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 57.24||↓ 0.08||↓ 0.14 %|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,582.55||↓ 1.51||↓ 0.10 %|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.2933|
|GBP 1||BDT 108.653|
|EUR 1||BDT 90.2061|
|INR 1||BDT 1.16208|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<