Bangladesh’s banking sector faces some pressures: BB
The central bank of Bangladesh sees the banking sector faced some pressures from asset quality, particularly in the state owned banks, and tighter liquidity in some of the fourth generation private banks. The gap between credit and deposit growths in a low interest environment helped absorb the existing excess liquidity in the banking system, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank Quarterly (BBQ) assessment for July-September 2017.
BDT depreciates against US dollar
The exchange rate of Bangladesh Taka (BDT) deprecated 15 paisa against the US dollar at the customer level on Monday. The depreciation of the local currency took place in a single day both in cases of clearing import payment obligations and receiving inwards foreign currencies – be it export proceeds or wage earners remittances. The exchange rate of the greenback rose to maximum Tk 83.35 for selling Bill for Collection (BC) from maximum Tk 83.20 of the previous working day, according to the market operators. On the other hand, the banks quoted US dollar at maximum Tk 82. 35 on the day against Tk 82.20 of the previous working day to the remitters as well as the exporters for TT (telegraphic transfer) clean.
Banks under pressure for asset mismatch, liquidity stress
Banking sector bears some pressures from declining asset quality, particularly of the state-owned banks, and tighter liquidity in some fourth-generation private banks, said the central bank. The Bangladesh Bank (BB) also indentified downside risks like any shock to remittance inflow and export due to growing political uncertainty in the Middle East. “Risks to inflation could emerge from the second-round effects of elevated food prices and the pass-through of higher global fuel and commodity prices,” it said in the latest Bangladesh Bank Quarterly (BBQ) assessment for July-September 2017, released Monday. It also said: “High credit growth amid tightening liquidity in the banking system, strong import growth with a smaller overall BoP (balance of payments) balance, and the rising trend in food inflation warrant a cautious macroeconomic management for preserving monetary and financial stability in FY 18.” The central bank, however, predicted that political and macroeconomic conditions are likely to be broadly stable in the fiscal year (FY) 2017-18.
Dollar gets costlier for import payments
The Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers’ Association has raised the ceiling on the Bills for Collection (BC) selling rate, the rate at which banks make import payments, to Tk 83.35 per dollar from Tk 83.20. A technical committee of the BAFEDA revised the BC selling rate on Sunday as the US dollar continues to appreciate against the taka at the inter-bank level although the central bank injected more than $1 billion into the market to keep it stable this fiscal year. The banks yesterday started to implement the decision, meaning importers will have to pay Tk 0.15 more per dollar. Earlier in November last year, the central bank asked banks not to sell the US dollar at rates higher than Tk 83.20, according to a member of the Bangladesh Bank’s technical committee. But the BAFEDA has been forced to reset the rate because of a rising trend of inter-bank exchange rate in recent months, he said. The central bank also verbally approved the BAFEDA’s decision, he said.
Lower loan-deposit ratio to affect economy: Bankers
The central bank’s planned move to slash the loan-deposit ratio ceiling to 80.5 percent from existing 85 percent will hurt the banking industry and the economy at a time when it is on a high growth trajectory, bankers said. Additional deposits of Tk 20,000 crore to Tk 25,000 crore would be needed if the Bangladesh Bank revises the ratio downwards, said the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh in a letter on January 14. Subsequently, the ABB has sought 12 months from the BB to prepare for the lower ceiling. At present, commercial banks are not allowed to invest more than 85 percent of their deposits; Islamic banks and the Islamic wings of commercial banks can invest up to 90 percent of their deposits. The central bank may cut the ratio to 80.50 percent for conventional banks and 88 percent for Islamic banks, BB Deputy Governor SK Sur Chowdhury told reporters earlier in January after a meeting at the central bank headquarters in the capital. More than 19 percent credit growth is unexpected for the private sector, so the central bank has decided to lower the ceiling to prevent banks from going for aggressive lending.
NPLs bother banking sector very much
Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Monday the country’s banking sector is bothered very much about the non-performing loans (NPLs) and argued that it has been a big problem since the independence when it reached 40 per cent of total outstanding loans. “But now it has come down to almost one digit and, hovering between one and two digits,” he told a meeting with a visiting Norwegian investment delegation at his secretariat office. Kristin Clemet, chairperson of Norfund, the Norwegian government’s investment fund for developing countries, led the 15-member delegation. Norwegian Ambassador to Dhaka Sidsel Bleken was also present at the meeting.
Bank Asia inks deal with Bangladesh Bank (BB)
Bank Asia Ltd. signed a participatory agreement with Bangladesh Bank on Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Development Project at the conference room of BB recently, said a statement. With the financial support of ADB and the Government of Bangladesh, the agreement was signed under the refinance scheme of USD 240 million to expand financial services for the development of CMSME.
Many listed companies see rise in foreign ownership
Many listed companies posted rise in foreign ownership at the end of 2017. Following increased participation by foreign shareholders, foreign stakes in some companies rose up to 41.28% by December 28, 2017 from that of 2016. The companies which witnessed rise in foreign stakes are IDLC Finance, British American Tobacco Bangladesh Company (BATBC), City Bank, One Bank, Delta Brac Housing Finance Corporation, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, ACME Laboratories and Singer Bangladesh.
Central banks should help build appropriate financial institutions
Central banks, particularly in developing economies, have a special responsibility in helping to create appropriate financial institutions, said a former governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). C Rangarajan said financial inclusion has become an issue of critical importance in recent years because of the failure of the system meant to reach out to small borrowers and vulnerable groups. “The Reserve Bank of India and the Bangladesh Bank have played a key role in discharging this responsibility and this must continue,” he said while presenting a lecture at the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) in Dhaka on Sunday.
Challenges to implementing ADP in an election year
The lack of implementation of the government’s Annual Development Programme (ADP) has become a norm in Bangladesh. The current 2017-18 fiscal year is not an exception. An analysis of publicly available information revealed that the ADP is never fully implemented. Although some of the development projects move ahead slowly, many do not even start.
UN declaration likely in March
The government is expecting official announcement of the country’s promotion as the lower middle income country in March that experts said would just be a statistical milestone and hardly reflect the growing inequality, unemployment and lack of good governance. Economic Relations Division in a report on Monday apprised the cabinet that progress was good in all three major indicators for the country’s promotion to a lower middle income nation from the current status of the least developed one.
New NBR unit to collect data online on financial transactions, assets
The National Board of Revenue has initiated a move to establish a fully automated tax information unit to unearth concealed financial transactions, incomes and other assets of taxpayers for preventing tax evasion and identifying potential taxpayers. The planned unit will be interconnected with other online systems nationwide and databases of other public and private agencies and automatically receive and gather information especially regarding big financial transactions by a taxpayer. The collected data will be crosschecked with information disclosed by taxpayers in their tax returns to detect tax evasion, if any, and to monitor compliance issues. Automated information collection system will also help the tax authority identify potential taxpayers. Finding scarcity of data and limited access to other online databases as one of the most important reasons for tax evasion and critical weakness of the country’s tax system, the revenue board has decided to set up the unit to remove the data gap, according to the NBR. The unit may start its activities before June, 2018 as per a declaration made by finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith.
Global apparel brand agrees to fix B’desh factory flaws
IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union have reached a $2.3 million settlement with a multinational apparel brand to fix life-threatening workplace hazards in Bangladesh’s garment factories. The settlement reached through an arbitration process under the legally-binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety represents one of the largest payments made by a brand to remedy workplace dangers in its supply chain, according to a statement issued by IndustriAll Monday. The brand, which cannot be named under the terms of the settlement, has agreed to pay $2.0 million towards remediation of more than 150 garment factories in Bangladesh, it added. The apparel maker will contribute a further US$300,000 into IndustriALL and UNI’s joint Supply Chain Worker Support Fund, established to support the work of the global unions to improve pay and conditions for workers in global supply chains.
Packaged imports to become dearer
Consumers are likely to face higher prices of imported packaged goods such as cosmetics, perfumes, shampoos owing to a recent order by the National Board of Revenue, said importers. The NBR asked customs offices to calculate the duty of the imported items by adding the duty for the containers if the cost of the packing materials such as perfume bottles, glass jars or containers is not included in the import prices. For ease of valuation, the revenue collectors said duty could be calculated by determining the prices of the packaging materials based on weight per kilogram. Importers said the sudden move by the customs authority will increase the duty of consumer goods imported in packaged form and thus lead to a spiral in prices of the commodities in the domestic market.
Producers call for withdrawal of raw jute export ban
The Bangladesh Jute Association yesterday strongly protested the ban on raw jute exports, saying the move would restrict overseas sales of the natural fibre and discourage growers. In a statement, the association said the government imposed the ban on January 18 without any consultation with them. “The government did not sit with us before imposing such a ban. It should be withdrawn soon for the sake of the jute industry,” said the statement. It said a huge amount of Bangla Tossa Rejection (BTR) and Bangla White Rejection (BWR) categories of jute—which are exported as raw jute—would remain unsold because of the ban.
Oxfam: Top fashion brand CEOs work 4 days to earn a Bangladeshi worker’s lifetime pay
A CEO from one of the world’s top five global fashion brands has to work for just four days to earn what a garment worker in Bangladesh earns in his entire life, non-profit organization Oxfam International revealed in a report on Monday. The findings were revealed during the release of a report titled “Reward Work, Not Wealth” at a gathering of political and business elites for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, reports Associated Press.
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