BB defers readjustment of ADR by six months: Banks get until year-end to check higher advances to address liquidity crunch
The central bank extended time for six months to December for banks to execute its revised advance- deposit ratio (ADR), apparently as the measure yielded chain effects like credit squeeze, capital-market jitters and liquidity crunch. To this effect, Bangladesh Bank issued a circular Tuesday, as a sort of unease continued to prevail on the money market. Following the extension, funded loan created on the basis of commitment made on or before January 30, 2018 by commercial banks, resulting in increase in ADR, will not be treated as a violation of the instructions. But, in this case, the ADR must also be adjusted by December 31, 2018, the BB circular says. Bangladesh Bank (BB) lowered limit of ADR on January 30 with a view to checking possible liquidity pressure on the money market following some banks’ ‘aggressive’ lending to some key sectors. The BB re-fixed it at 83.50 per cent for all the conventional banks and at 89 per cent for the Shariah-based Islamic banks. Earlier, before the January 30 circular, ratios were 85 and 90 for conventional and shariah-based banks respectively. However, a central-bank spokesperson views that this latest extension is meant for facilitating country’s business activities. “We’ve extended the latest timeframe just to accelerate the country’s economic activities,” a central bank official told the FE. On the other hand, top executives of private commercial banks heaved a sigh of relief. They told the FE that they think this is a piece of welcome development for the banking industry as many were in a hurry to raise deposit — thereby spurring interest rates. Anis A. Khan, managing director and CEO at Mutual Trust Bank, told the FE: “We welcome this latest circular relating to the extension of the ADR.” He said the interest rates on deposits witnessed a rising trend following June 30 deadline given by the central bank for advance-deposit readjustment. “We now will get much time to comply with the latest ADR and it will definitely be conducive for us.”
BB move to cheer up stocks as well
The central bank’s move to extend the deadline for lowering the banks’ loan-deposit ratio will give a boost to the stock market, stakeholders said. “The decision will give a psychological relief to stockmarket investors,” said Khairul Bashar Abu Taher Mohammed, secretary general of Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association. The development will stop the aggressive fund collection by banks at higher interest rates and subsequently bump up the daily turnover of the stock market, said Mostaq Ahmed Sadeque, president of the Dhaka Stock Exchange Brokers Association. The Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday extended the deadline for banks to lower their loan-deposit ratio by 1.5-2 percentage points to December 31 from June 30. “Banks will get almost one year to adjust the ratio, so the interest rate should not go up any further.” If the interest rate on deposits remains at single digit, the stock market will not face any fund withdrawal pressure, he said.
1.0pc provision for unclassified housing loans
Bangladesh Bank (BB) has asked the chief executives of all scheduled banks to maintain 1.0 per cent general provision against all unclassified housing-finance loans under consumer financing. “With a view to promoting growth in the real-estate sector through banks’ participation in housing finance, it has been decided that banks have to maintain one-per cent general provision instead of two percent against all unclassified housing-finance loans under consumer financing,” said a BB circular Tuesday.
Deposits of Islamic banking industry up by 14.15%
The total deposits in the country’s Islamic banking industry increased by 14.15% in the previous year, according to the latest statistics of the Bangladesh Bank. It showed that deposits in the Islamic banks along Islamic banking branches and windows of the conventional banks stood at BDT 2142.59 billion at the end of December 2017, while the amount was BDT 1876.94 billion in the same period of 2016. Currently, there are eight full-fledge Islamic banks, 19 Islamic banking branches of nine conventional banks and 25 Islamic banking windows of conventional banks. Country’s Islamic banking sector or industry is composed of all these. Bangladesh Bank data also showed that the Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited accounted for the biggest share of deposits which was 35% at the end of 2017.
bKash signs deal with Netizen IT
bKash Limited, the largest mobile financial service provider in the country, signed an agreement recently with Netizen IT Limited, an education software management company, said a statement. This will allow bKash customers to make payment of various fees at schools and colleges though their bKash accounts. The deal would facilitate bKash payment at 5000 schools and colleges across the country which use Netizen provided ‘Eduman software’. Mizanur Rashid, Chief Commercial Officer of bKash, and Raihan Nobel, Managing Director of Netizen IT, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations at the LGED Building in presence of Mustafa Jabbar, Minister for Posts, Telecommunications and ICT.
Three entities launch first ever freelancer card
Bank Asia, in partnership with BASIS and Mastercard, Monday announced the launch of ‘SHADHIN’ card, the first ever freelancer card in Bangladesh. The ‘SHADHIN’ forex card will enable freelancers to legally receive their income directly from international employers in a safe & secured environment. The card will also allow freelancers to retain a part of their earnings (70 percent) in dollars which, can be used later for online shopping. There are approximately 650,000 registered freelancers, out of which, 500,000 are working and earning on a monthly basis in Bangladesh. The ‘SHADHIN’ card will give this community the freedom to legally make their monetary transactions on time and in a secured ecosystem thus, creating a digitally empowered freelancer community in Bangladesh.
Premier Bank inks deal with Palmal Group
Premier Bank recently signed an agreement with Palmal Group. Under the agreement, employees of Ayesha Clothing Co. Ltd, a sister concern of Palmal Group will get Premier Payroll Banking facility i.e Salary disbursement, Debit cards, credit cards, personal loans. Premier bank will establish an ATM Booth at factory premise Bangabandu Road, Ashulia, Savar, Dhakato facilitate 24/7 ATM Banking facility for employees of Ayesha Clothing. Mr. Adnan Imtiaz Majid, Director,Palmal Group of Industries and Mr. Shamim Murshed, SEVP & Head of Retail Banking of Premier Bank signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.Mr. M. Reazul Karim, Managing Director & CEO (Incharge) of the Bank was present as chief guest in the ceremony.
Bangladesh Securities & Exchange Commission (BSEC) frames code of conduct for eligible investors
The securities regulator has set some code of conduct for eligible investors (EIs) in the bidding process to ensure ‘justified’ price of IPO (initial public offering) shares under the book building method. In this regard, the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) Tuesday issued a directive signed by its chairman. The regulator asked the EIs to take into consideration all aspects including financial, technical, managerial, commercial, economic, ownership etc. of the securities offered and its issuer. The directive was issued in the backdrop of quoting prices for IPO shares without ‘justification’ in recent times. As per the BSEC directive, the Els will have to form a bidding recommendation committee comprising of at least two members having relevant knowledge, skill, qualification and experience. According to BSEC directive, the committee, after detailed analysis of value and prospects of the securities, shall recommend to participate in the electronic bidding and shall also mention the bidding quantity and price, if recommended. Based on the recommendation of the bidding recommendation committee, the EIs will take decision about participation in the bidding. The Els will have to submit their valuation report along with workings and calculations to the exchange conducting the bidding, within two working days of completion of the bidding period.
China gives nod to $3.14b loan for Padma rail link
The Chinese State Council, the highest policymaking body of the East Asian nation, has finally given the go-ahead to the $3.14 billion loan for the Padma rail link project, in what can be viewed as a massive thrust to the project’s implementation. Of the 26 projects committed by China during its premier’s visit to Dhaka in 2016, the rail link is the most pressing one, receiving the highest amount of loan. Since 2017, the government took several initiatives to sign the agreement for the rail link project but to no avail. Out of desperation, in January this year, the government even thought of sending a high-powered team led by MA Mannan, state minister for finance and planning, to China. The plan was dropped after the Chinese Exim Bank in a letter on February 2 informed the Bangladesh government that they would soon start the process of signing the loan agreement, said an official of the Economic Relations Division. The draft loan agreement is expected by the end of this month, soon after the wrapping up of Chinese New Year celebrations on February 23, according to Zahidul Haque, additional secretary of the ERD. The final agreement will be signed after an inter-ministerial meeting on the draft agreement, law ministry’s vetting and approval from the hard-term loan committee.
Leather goods exporters stare at tough times
Bangladeshi footwear and leather goods exporters are bracing themselves for tough competition in the global market after the Indian government recently announced a mega financial incentive for the sector’s revival. Both the countries export footwear and leather goods to the same destinations like the EU, the US and Japan. The Indian government has announced a special package worth $404.7 million (about Tk 3,338 crore) from fiscal 2017-18 through to fiscal 2019-20 for employment generation in the leather and footwear sector, according to Council for Leather Exports, India’s leather trade rules and regulation body. “We will face a very tough situation in the international market once the Indian government starts implementing the package,” said Saiful Islam, president of the Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh. The Japanese government’s adoption of the “China plus one” strategy in 2008 had opened doors for Bangladesh’s leather and leather goods exporters. But, there is intense competition among exporting countries such as Vietnam, India and Ethiopia to grab an increasing share of the pie.
Denim exports to US decline
Denim exports to the US, Bangladesh’s single largest export destination, sank 31.48 percent year-on-year to $295.04 million in 2016 because of the re-emergence of the legendary American denim industry. Although data for 2017 is yet to be released, exporters said the figure would be more or less the same or even lower. It is not just Bangladesh, denim exports from China, the largest apparel supplier to the US, declined as well in 2016: by 36.30 percent to $627.30 million, according to data from the Bangladesh Denim Expo, a non-profit organisation that arranges fair on denim products twice a year. Shipments from Mexico, the second largest supplier, crashed 42.05 percent to $555.49 million. The overall decline in denim imports by the US means Bangladesh’s position remains the same: at the third spot, after China and Mexico.
Lack of diversification challenge: BFTI study
Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute has identified product and market concentration, lower productivity of workers and lack of mid-level professionals as major challenges for the readymade garment business in Bangladesh. Despite having potentials in Commonwealth of Independent States, Oceania and Latin American countries, high tariff and non-tariff barriers have been hindering the export of RMG to the regions, observed a BFTI study published on Tuesday. As per the instruction of a taskforce on the RMG sector under the commerce ministry, the BFTI conducted the survey titled ‘Expansion and Facilitation of the RMG sector of Bangladesh’ and presented its summary at a workshop organised by the ministry at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital. The study also observed that import dependency of raw materials, lack of infrastructure including road connectivity, inadequate utility services and limited facilities in ports, collateral requirements for bank loans and unjustified price quotes by buyers were challenges for the expansion and facilitation of the RMG sector.
Cos launch new brands as tea expo concludes
The second edition of tea exposition concluded on Tuesday in Dhaka, generating enthusiasm among companies and visitors. Organisers and participants of the ‘Bangladesh Tea Expo-2018’ said the event had become a gathering point for consumers and tea producers to exchange views on tea products and sectoral know-how. Throughout the expo, tea lovers got the chance to taste best quality liquors of different companies on a complimentary basis or at a token value on the venue. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the expo at the International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) in Dhaka on Sunday. The Ministry of Commerce and Bangladesh Tea Board (BTB) jointly organised the event to help boost tea production in the country with new varieties.
Car sales triple in five years
Around 63 cars are sold in Bangladesh every day now – the highest in the country’s history – with the number of imported cars having increased threefold since the 2012-13 fiscal year. “Bangladesh imported around 11,476 cars in the last six months (July 2017- December 2017) to fulfil the growing public demand,” said Habib Ullah Dawn, president of the Bangladesh Reconditioned Vehicles Importers and Dealers Association (Barvida). According to the Barvida, around 7,353 reconditioned cars were sold in FY2012-13, and 20,149 cars were sold in FY2016-17. Why are car sales increasing in Bangladesh? Car importers, vendors and banks say there has been a big jump in the purchasing capacity of the middle class as well as an emergence of easier credit facilities. The lack of standard public transport in Dhaka and the affordable price of cars are also reasons for the boost, according to car importers. “We are amazed that 11,476 cars were sold in just the last six months,” said Md Habib Ullah Dawn. “However, if the political situation gets ugly in the wake of the upcoming national elections at the end of this year, sales might fall again,” he added. Currently, the market size for reconditioned cars is around Tk5,000cr. Each year the size of the market is increasing by 15 to 20%, according to Barvida.
Trade drops, so does Benapole’s revenue income
Bangladesh’s largest land port Benapole has been facing stagnancy in recent times as it is seeing a gradual decline in imports and revenue income. Trucks are stuck on the other side of Benapole with goods because of a syndicate. Traders have complained that in the Petrapole port on the Indian side, people from the municipality stop trucks to extort money. It takes loaded trucks 15-20 days to enter Bangladesh because of extra regulations at Benapole check post. Only 250 trucks pass through Benapole a day now — down from 500. Traders have blamed the BGB, customs and the port administration for registering the trucks separately and delaying the overall process. On the other hand, traders have started using the Chittagong port for imports because of the higher taxes imposed at Benapole. Revenue collection is dropping as importers have started smuggling goods due to different complications at Benapole.
Alif Industries to establish new business units
The board of directors of Alif Industries has decided to setup two new business units with a total investment of BDT 4.0 billion, said an official disclosure on Tuesday. The company will establish spinning mills with capacity of 50,000 spindles and LEEDS certified green plant for manufacturing of “Woven Denim” consisting of 25 production lines under the name of “Alif Industries Ltd.”. “The total investment BDT 4.0 billion is required for the aforesaid two new business units,” said a disclosure posted on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website on Tuesday. The source of financing of these two new business units will be through capital raise (issue of capital), subject to approval of Bangladesh Securities & Exchange Commission (BSEC) and other sources, said the disclosure. The company has also decided to hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on March 14, 2018 to pass some special resolutions. The company’s earnings per share (EPS) stood at BDT 1.39 for October-December, 2017 as against BDT 0.75 for October-December, 2016. In six months for July-December, 2017, EPS was BDT 2.04 as against BDT 1.31 for July-December, 2016. The textile sector company disbursed 10% cash and 25% stock dividend for the year ended on June 30, 2017. The sponsor-directors own 60.45% stake in the company, while institutional investors own 17.40%, and the general public 22.15% as on January 31, 2018, the DSE data shows
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