Banks’ provision shortfall shrinks by 18pc in Q4
The shortfall in provisions against loans, mostly classified ones, in the banking system has narrowed by over 18 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019 on the back of lower growth in default loans. The overall shortfall came down to Tk 66.55 billion as on December 31 of the last calendar year from Tk 81.29 billion three months ago, the central bank’s latest data show. However, the shortfall edged up by 0.61 per cent year on year — to Tk 66.55 billion in 2019 from Tk 66.15 billion a year earlier, the Bangladesh Bank (BB) data revealed. Lower growth in non-performing loans (NPLs) pushed down the volume of provisioning shortfall with the banks significantly during the period under review. The classified loans dropped by nearly 19 per cent to Tk 943.31 billion as on December 31 of 2019 from Tk 1,162.88 billion three months ago. Also, the share of NPLs in the total outstanding loans came down to 9.32 per cent as on December 31 in 2019 from 11.99 per cent three months back. The figure was 10.30 per cent on December 31, 2018. Under the central bank regulations, the banks have to make 0.25 per cent to 5.0 per cent provisions against loans in general category, 20 per cent in substandard category, 50 per cent against doubtful loans and 100 per cent in bad or loss category. The banks usually make the required provisions against both classified and unclassified loans from their operating profits in order to mitigate risks.
ECNEC endorses nine projects at Tk 136.39b
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved nine projects, involving a total cost of Tk 136.39 billion. The ECNEC approved the projects at its weekly meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, held at the National Economic Council (NEC) in the city on Tuesday. The government will provide Tk 88.86 billion from its own fund, while Tk 44.59 billion will be available as loans or grants for implementation of the projects. Bangladesh government will finance Tk 15.55 billion from its own fund for the project, and the remaining Tk 44.59 billion will come as part of Indian Line of Credit (LoC). Another approved project to develop an approach road – Shariatpur-Zanjira-Naodoba – for Padma Bridge at a cost of Tk 16.82 billion will be implemented by the Road Transport and Highways Division with the government money. The project is scheduled to be completed by June 2022. The government also took a project at a cost of Tk 13.51 billion for modernisation of Paturia and Doulatdia river-ports by including more facilities. The other ECNEC-approved projects include enhancement of Anwara upazila connecting road and Karnaphuli Tunnel approach road into four-lane ones at a cost of Tk 4.07 billion. Development of another road in Noakhali will require Tk 2.82 billion.
Stocks snap five-day winning streak on profit booking
Stocks backed into the red on Tuesday, snapping a five-day winning streak, as investors opted for quick profit on selective large-cap issues. DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, went down by 27.73 points or 0.58 per cent to settle at 4,740, after adding 383 points in the past five straight sessions. The core index added 59 points within first hour of trading that led the key index to cross the ‘psychological’ threshold of 4,800-level. But failed to sustain the momentum amid profit-booking sell-offs. Turnover, a crucial indicator of the market, stood at Tk 10.21 billion on the country’s premier bourse, climbing further by 4.6 per cent over previous day’s mark of Tk 9.76 billion. It happens to be the biggest single-day transaction in more than one year since January 30, 2019, when the turnover totaled a record Tk 10.24 billion. Liquidity support by the Bangladesh Bank and interest rate cut on post office savings scheme continued to help rise the market turnover. The Chittagong Stock Exchange also ended marginally with its All Shares Price Index (CASPI)-losing 25 points to close at 14,504 and the Selective Categories Index – CSCX -shedding 18 points to finish at 8,797. Here too, the losers beat gainers, as 133 issues closed lower, 125 ended lower and 32 remained unchanged on the CSE. The port city bourse traded 25.87 million shares and mutual fund units worth Tk 677 million in turnover.
Maize harvest fourfold now
The country’s maize production has quadrupled just in a decade amid its rising demand propelled by a booming commercial animal feed industry, said sector insiders. The output of the corn rose to 3.5 million tonnes in fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 from 0.87 million tonnes in FY 2010, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Maize yield has expanded at 16 per cent on a year-on-year basis over the past one decade, a faster growth rate compared to any other crop, the data shows. Meanwhile, feed industry has grown up to 4.0 million tonnes worth Tk 140 billion in FY ’19 from 2.4 million tonnes a decade back. The government is expecting a record 4.5 million tonnes of maize output this fiscal as the area has expanded by 8.0 per cent to 0.52 million hectares. Farmers get a minimum 11.25 tonnes of the produce worth Tk 0.18 million per hectare with a profit margin of 60-100 per cent. We’re expecting that feed industry will grow to 8.2 million tonnes within 2030 from the current 4.0 million tonnes following a 10-per cent expected growth rate year on year. Farmers at least get Tk 15 for maize per kg. Thanks to this gigantic demand, commercial feed production has experienced 18-25 per cent growth in 10 years.
SEBL opens integrated vending station
Southeast Bank Limited (SEBL) inaugurated an integrated vending station for providing prepaid meter recharge service to the subscribers of Dhaka Electricity Supply Company Limited (DESCO) on Tuesday. The vending station service has been inaugurated by Dr. Sultan Ahmed, Secretary, Power Division, The Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources. This service will be available for the customers on round-the-clock basis.
‘Made in Bangladesh’ smartphones headed to US
Walton is set to export smartphones to the US, in what can be viewed as a remarkable endorsement of the leaps taken by Bangladesh’s manufacturing sector. The dream of exporting ‘Made in Bangladesh’ smartphones is now coming true. The first consignment of the smartphones, which would be priced between $100 and $200, will be out of the gates of Walton Digi-Tech Industries’s plant in Chandra, Gazipur in March 1. Indeed, the company was the first to set up a mobile phone manufacturing plant in Bangladesh in October 2017. So far, the plant has churned out 60 lakh units: 17 lakh smartphones and 43 lakh basic phones. Walton along with some other companies is making the country proud as currently 40 per cent of the domestic demand for handsets is met by nine local firms. Another announcement will come on the same day: 26,000 laptops manufactured at the plant will be shipped to different markets. Last year they sold 12.02 lakh smartphones and 41.76 lakh feature phones in the local market. Since Walton is gradually finding its feet overseas, officials said they will now double down efforts to make it the best Bangladeshi brand in the global market by 2030. The assembly boom follows a government decision in 2015 to slash equipment importing tax to just 1 per cent from as high as 100 per cent.
Agent banking: the bright spot in lending landscape
Agent banking, which takes banking services to the unbanked people, is going from strength to strength, with both deposit collection and loan disbursement on the rise. Lenders earlier kept their core focus on collecting deposits from clients through the new banking wing but they have given the same importance to loan disbursement and inward remittance. As of September last year, loan disbursement through the agent banking channel was Tk 446 crore, which is more than double that from a year earlier. At the same time, deposit collection went up 142 per cent to Tk 7,517 crore, according to data from the central bank. At present, the lender is disbursing loans ranging from Tk 20,000 to Tk 200,000 to borrowers at an interest rate of 14-15 per cent through the channel. The lower operational costs for agent banking will help Bank Asia sidestep the difficulties stemming from implementation of single-digit interest rate on lending. As of December last year, loan disbursement by Bank Asia stood at Tk 259 crore, which is 58 per cent of the total outstanding loans given out by all lenders through agent banking. The central bank issued the agent banking guideline in 2013 but the licensees did not start full-fledged operations until 2016. Outlets of agent banking distributed Tk 15,534 crore in remittance last year, up a staggering 180 per cent year-on-year. As of December last year, 21 banks combined have 52.68 lakh accounts, up 114 per cent from a year earlier.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||4,740.40||↓ 27.73||↓ 0.58 %|
|↓ 165.89||↓0.56 %|
|FTSE100||7,382.01||↓ 51.24||↓ 0.69 %|
|Nikkei 225||23,359.60||↑ 165.80||↑ 0.71 %|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 52.55||↑ 0.50||↑ 0.96 %|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 58.29||↑ 0.54||↑ 0.94 %|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,601.94||↑ 0.33||↑ 0.02 %|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.3390|
|GBP 1||BDT 108.389|
|EUR 1||BDT 90.1406|
|INR 1||BDT 1.16525|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<