Important Business News Extracts – January 01 2017
Banks’ profits surge on political calm
Political stability has helped banks earn handsome operating profits in 2016 despite a sharp fall in lending rates, data collected from different banks showed. Some new banks recorded more than 200.0% rise in operating profits, while struggling Premier Bank saw 78.0% growth. Largest private lender in terms of deposits and advances, Islami Bank Bangladesh, has booked more than BDT 20.0 billion as operating profits for the first time in its history of three decades in business. The amount was an increase of 11.0% year-on-year. Even, troubled state-run BASIC Bank made nearly BDT 150.0 million operating profits after two years’ of losses. Mutual Trust Bank’s operating profits increased about 21.8% to BDT 3.7 billion last year. Last year default loans increased and lending rate was lowered but the banks succeeded in making higher profits which helped GDP growth cross 7.0%. The government expects the economic growth to reach 7.5% this year. According to Bangladesh Bank statistics, credit growth increased to 16.8% in fiscal 2015-16 and in November it rose 15.0% year-on-year.
Private sector credit growth falls for 3rd month in November
The private sector credit growth in the country decreased in November for the third month in a row as businesspeople were less encouraged to expand their business due to existing sluggish business situation. The private sector credit growth in the country decreased to 15.01% in November year-on-year compared with that of 15.2% in October, according to the latest BB data. Economists and BB officials say the country’s business sector is yet to get rid of a dull situation, which was reflected in the private sector credit growth in the last few months. The rise in the private sector credit growth in last fiscal year 2015-16 was a temporary phenomenon as the investment situation in the country is still sluggish, they said. The private sector credit growth declined to 15.3% in September year-on-year compared with that of 16.2% in August this year.
Industrial sector term loan soars, yer remains on lower curve
Aggregate disbursement of the industrial term loan increased by 17 per cent in the first three quarters of 2016, according to the central bank statistics. It showed that disbursed amount of industrial credit stood at Tk 480.65 billion in January-September period of 2016 while the amount was Tk 410.29 billion in the same period of 2015. Disaggregated quarterly data, however, revealed that disbursement of industrial credit actually declined in the second and third quarters of the current year.
Bangladesh Bank reduces remittance drawing security deposit by 40 per cent
The central bank relaxed the policy on drawing arrangement between offshore exchange houses and local banks and slashed the deposit to augment falling remittance receipts. Under the relaxation, the amount of security deposit for drawing arrangement came down to US$10,000 from $25,000 while security deposit for Non-Resident Taka (NRT) account got trimmed down to Tk 0.20 million from Tk 0.50 million. The Bangladesh Bank (BB) issued Tuesday a notification to this effect.
Finance Minister turns down plea for taka depreciation
Finance Minister AMA Muhith Thursday turned down a proposal for steps to depreciate Taka against US dollar, saying he was against dual exchange rate of the local currency. He did not elaborate, but assured an exporters’ delegation of trying to help the export sector through other means, sources said. The country’s apparel sector leaders met the minister at his secretariat office and placed some demands, including the need for devaluation of Taka that they argued would help boost export earnings, said a meeting source. President of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) Siddiqur Rahman, Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) president AKM Salim Osman and Bangladesh Textile Mills Association (BTMA) president Tapan Chowdhury were the members of the delegation. They also urged the government to ensure quick release of the cash incentives on exports through removing obstacles.
The country’s premier bourse witnessed 346.6% rise in trade volume at the end of 2016 compared to previous year due to investors’ increased participation. The investors’ participation mainly increased in November and December of 2016 when investors were active from both sides of the trading fence. The market insiders said policy supports earlier initiated by the securities regulator and the central bank worked for restoring investors’ confidence. On December 31, 2015 the trade volume was above 97.04 million securities on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), according to DSE information. At the end of 2016, the trade volume stood at above 433.40 million on December 29, 2016, which is 346.59% higher than the volume observed on December 31, 2015. The trade refers to two transactions — one buy and one sale — required for exchanging securities and the trade volume is the total quantity of securities that transacted though one trade or two transactions. According to the DSE sources, some 96,535 trades were executed involving 97.04 million securities on December 31, 2015.
Portfolio investment on Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) jumps 247.0% in 2016
Net foreign investment in stocks marked a significant jump in 2016 compared to the previous year, as foreign investors found Bangladesh stock market lucrative for long-term investment. An analyst said the favorable macroeconomic indicators coupled with political stability jacked the foreign fund managers’ confidence up and encouraged them to inject fresh fund in the securities. The overseas investors bought shares worth BDT 50.6 billion, while they sold stocks of BDT 37.2 billion in 2016 to take their net investment for the year to BDT 13.4 billion, according to statistics from the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE). In 2015, the portfolio investors bought shares worth BDT 38.3 billon and sold the equities worth BDT 34.4 billion, taking the net position at BDT 3.86 billion, the DSE data shows. DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), showed satisfactory performance in 2016, generating 406 points or 8.8% return over the previous year to close at more than two years’ high at 5,036.05. The daily turnover, an important gauge, stood at BDT 4.98 billion on average, up 17.0% year-on-year in 2016.
Shocks and setbacks, but economy stood tall in 2016
By and large, 2016 will go down as the year of shocks and setbacks, but the Bangladesh economy stood tall: it continued its steady growth. The central bank reserve hacking and the terrorist attack in Gulshan were the two major incidents in what was otherwise a tranquil year. A New Year always starts with unpredictability as the future is always mystery. Many feared that the political landscape might heat up on the occasion of the second anniversary of January 5 general elections that some major parties boycotted. But there was no commotion surrounding the date, which came as a huge sigh of relief to the ordinary people. The cyber heist of Bangladesh Bank reserves in February though jolted the country out of the stupor. But the real shock came on July 1, when a group of young militants stormed into an upscale restaurant in the heart of the capital’s diplomatic zone and brutally murdered a number of foreigners and locals.
Economy to maintain growth momentum next year: Bangladesh Bank
With all major economic indicators performing strong in the outgoing year 2016, the economy is showing prospect of maintaining the steady growth pace in 2017, according to Bangladesh Bank (BB), reports BSS. According to the central bank, the point to point inflation was 5.4% in November, which was close to the target of 5.8 percent for FY17. The reserve also hit a record of USD 32.0 billion in 2016, which was enough for meeting the country’s six months’ import cost. The local currency was stable against the green buck as the average exchange rate of US dollar was USD 78.8 on December 21, 2016 against USD 78.7 in December 2015. The private credit growth, a major pulse of economic activities, also grew by 15.3% in November last, close to the fiscal target of 16.5%. Terming the 2016 as a stable year for financial sector, said inflation rate, record foreign exchange reserves and export earnings were in comfortable position. BB has already achieved 43.0% of its targeted agriculture loan distribution as the banks has already distributed Taka 755.1 million out of Taka 175.5 billion in first five month in the fiscal.
The revenue collection of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) grew 19.21% in the first three months or first quarter of the current fiscal year from the same period a year earlier. Despite the growth rate, the authorities still fell BDT 21.9 billion short of target during the period NBR mobilized BDT 386.3 billion during the July-September period of the FY 2016-17 against its revenue target of BDT 364.4 billion, according to NBR official data. The revenue authorities have taken up different initiatives to gradually increase the revenue collection that will help it in reaching its target at the end of the fiscal year, officials said. The NBR is developing its relationship with concerned stakeholders including taxpayers, tax lawyers, chambers, business, trade bodies and other government agencies to increase awareness to encourage people pay tax. In addition, it has also taken up necessary steps to expedite Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism to recover stuck up revenues, officials said. They also said efforts have been intensified further to collect the dues from different state-owned enterprises.
Investors are expected to get quick services online from this year, thanks to a government initiative to frame a law — One Stop Service Act — to encourage local and foreign investors to create jobs and accelerate the pace of the economy, said officials. The law is likely to be placed at the next session of the parliament, said Tauhidur Rahman Khan, a director of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA). “We want to give all services that are necessary for an industry under one umbrella,” he said. Once the law is passed, officials and employees of various agencies will feel obliged to provide services to the businesses without any delay. In absence of legal binding, investment promotion agencies did not always get required support from other organisations to quickly facilitate trade and investment and improve business climate.
ADB to provide USD 167.0 million for gas sector efficiency
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide USD 167.0 million to Bangladesh to improve production efficiency at Titas gas field and expand transmission infrastructure and reduce carbon emission. The loan would be disbursed under the USD 453.0 million project, known as Natural Gas Infrastructure and Efficiency Improvement Project. A loan agreement was signed at a ceremony at the Economic Relations Division (ERD) on Thursday. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is expected to co-finance the project with an additional USD 60.0 million, subject to its board approval. It is the second project to be co-financed by ADB and AIIB. The Natural Gas Infrastructure and Efficiency Improvement Project will install seven wellhead gas compressors to increase pumping pressure and ensure steady extraction at the Titas gas field. The project will also boost gas transmission by constructing 181 kilometers of transmission pipeline from Chittagong to Bakhrabad and substitute the use of other fossil fuels, thereby reducing over 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year over the next 10 years. The project is expected to be completed in late 2021. The government of Bangladesh will provide USD 226.0 million for the project. Last year, the ADB’s assistance totalled USD 27.2 billion, including co-financing of USD 10.7 billion.
Mohammadi Group, a leading garment exporter, will address three important factors in 2017 to maintain its 10 percent year-on-year business growth. The company will expand its operations, complete remediation and produce more value-added items. Expansion will ensure higher productivity, remediation will brighten image of the company and value-added products will give the manufacturer a competitive edge, said Rubana Huq, managing director of the group. These three factors are important for almost all the 4,000 active garment factories that employ more than 4.4 million workers. The $28.24-billion-export sector saw more than 10 percent growth in shipment in 2016 amid higher demand from international retailers. Industry insiders said 2017 will be a great year as well if some issues are addressed properly.
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