Contractionary monetary policy on the cards
Bangladesh Bank is preparing a contractionary monetary policy statement (MPS) for the second half of the current fiscal year to control the supply of credits and inflation in a bid to maintain economic stability, according to officials. To ensure price stability and gain public trust in currency, the monetary policy is expected to play a vital role in controlling the flow of money through setting a target of interest and inflation rates, they said. Bangladesh Bank Governor Fazle Kabir is likely to announce the MPS late this month. Abul Kalam Azad, general manager and deputy spokesman at the central bank, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We have yet to finalize the date of MPS announcement. It could, however, be announced between January 29 and 31.” He added that they had taken all necessary preparations to announce the MPS. The bank has already finalized the MPS, and it is now being reviewed by the government authorities concerned, according to sources. Bangladesh Bank officials said proposals and suggestions from eminent economists and the bank’s officials would be incorporated in the MPS.
Private-sector credit squeezes as banks tighten belt
Credit to private sector squeezed in December after a preceding upturn as most banks tried to comply with strictly-enforced advances-deposit ratio (ADR) rules, bankers said. “Banks were more focused on managing liquidity ratios than in increasing loan book so that numbers look better at the close of year,” Syed Mahbubur Rahman, chairman of the Association of Bankers, Bangladesh (ABB), told the FE while explaining the latest private-sector-credit-growth situation. The growth in credit flow to private sector came down to 18.13 per cent in December 2017 on a year-on-year basis from 19.06 per cent a month before, according to the central bank latest statistics.
Foreign Direct Investment to Bangladesh increases by 8% in 11 months
Foreign direct investment increased by around 8% to USD 1.85 billion in January-November period of 2017 in the country from USD 1.71 billion that of the same period of 2016, according to the statistics of the Bangladesh Bank. In 2016, overall FDI inflows were USD 2.33 billion. Though the country is experiencing a positive trend in attracting FDI, the share of FDI in form of equity capital is only around one-fourth of total inflows. The remaining portion of foreign investment is mostly in form of reinvested earnings while a little portion comes as intra-company loans, the data showed. Global FDI inflows fell by 16% in 2017 while FDI flows to developing economies including developing countries in Asia rose by only 2% in the year, according to the latest report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. According to a government estimate, the country needs to attract average annual FDI inflows of USD 6.7 billion to graduate to upper middle income status by 2021.
Proposal to create nat’l database gets govt nod
The government has finally approved a proposal for creating a national database of investors aiming to modernise management of savings tools and convert those to a sustainable source of deficit financing, officials said. To this effect, the Ministry of Finance has asked the Internal Resources Division (IRD) to take necessary measures. The Finance Division in the first week of this month sent some short-term reform proposals to the finance minister for his approval, they added. According to the approved proposals, a self-sufficient central database of clients/investors in national savings certificates would be created linking with their national identity cards under the Directorate of National Savings (DNS). Updated information about investment will be uploaded after preparing the database and collecting information about investments in high-yielding savings certificates.
Small firms start getting ADB-funded firepower
A total of 19 financial institutions have started disbursing money from an Asian Development Bank (ADB) fund meant for small firms, which can meet the financial needs of genuine entrepreneurs. The ADB and the government have allocated US$240 million or equivalent to approximately Tk 1.92 billion for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurs living outside Dhaka and Chittagong metropolitan areas will also be eligible for the credit. Under the refinancing scheme, the banks and the non-bank financial institutions will provide entrepreneurs with upto 90 per cent of their equities. Abul Bashar, general manager at the Financial Inclusion Department of the Bangladesh Bank told the FE, “This will widen and deepen the financial inclusion.” Mr Bashar also said that the financial institutions will focus on green projects. He said the Bangladesh Bank would lend out to the banks and non-bank at a rate of 4.0 per cent. The central bank usually maintains the bank rate of 5.0 per cent in refinancing schemes. Mr. Basahr noted that the central bank has asked the institutions to keep lending rate at single-digit.
AB Bank elects new chairman
The Board of Directors of AB Bank Limited in its 643rd Meeting held on Monday elected M. A. Awal as the Chairman and Feroz Ahmed as the Vice-Chairman of the Bank. Earlier on December 21, 2017 at the 35th Annual General Meeting of the Bank, Mr. Moshtaque Ahmed Chowdhury, Shajir Ahmed and Shireen Scheik Mainuddin were appointed as directors. Mr. Awal joined AB Bank Limited as Director on July 16, 2008. Mr. Feroz Ahmed is the Chairman of Elite Paint Group and the Managing Director of Elite International.
New DMD of SIBL
Abu Naser Chowdhury has recently joined as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) at Social Islami Bank Limited (SIBL). Prior to his joining at SIBL, he was the Deputy Managing Director of Rupali Bank Limited, said a statement. He started his banking career as Senior Officer at Janata Bank Limited in 1986. He also served as General Manager at Chittagong Division of Janata Bank Limited.
NCC Bank to issue subordinate bond
The securities regulator approved BDT 4.0 billion non-convertible subordinate bond to fulfill the condition of Tier-II capital base. The tenure of the bond will be seven years and banks, local financial institutions, insurance companies, corporate bodies, asset management companies, mutual funds and high net worth individuals will be allowed to purchase the bond through private placement.
Regulator approves CDBL MD’s appointment
The securities regulator Tuesday approved the appointment of Shuvra Kanti Choudhury, FCA, as managing director (MD) & CEO of Central Depository Bangladesh Limited (CDBL). The regulator approved the appointment of Mr. Choudhury, a former executive director of BSEC for two years. The board of CDBL recently took the decision of appointing Mr. Choudhury as MD & CEO from February 1, 2018. Following the board’s proposal, the securities regulator Tuesday approved the appointment of Mr. Choudhury.
EBL, Vroom launch cards with Diners Club
Eastern Bank and Vroom Services recently introduced Diners Club International Auto Credit Card and Diners Club International Fuel Card for drivers and vehicle owners at a ceremony in Dhaka. Those availing either of the cards will get countrywide access to vehicle workshops, service centres and fuel stations partnering with Vroom. Zero equal monthly instalment facility will be provided at the workshops. Bearers of the credit card will have access to over 800 airport lounges and over 27 million merchant locations in 185 countries and territories where Diners Club International is accepted.The co-branded credit card is only for Vroom Service members. The fuel card can be used to buy fuel at partner refuelling stations across the country, says a statement. Ali Reza Iftekhar, the bank’s CEO; Muhammad Ziaul Islam Chowdhury, Vroom chairman; Habibur Rahman, managing director, and Subhrajit Basu, director of Diners Club International for South Asia, Singapore, Philippines and Malaysia, launched the cards.
BD ahead of neighbours in inclusive development
Bangladesh is ahead of its neighbours in inclusive-development rankings by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for 2018 that placed the country in 34th position among emerging economies. Among the 74 emerging economies of the world, Bangladesh attained the 34th position in the Inclusive Development Index (IDI) 2018 of the WEF as it maintained impressive progress on different economic indicators, says the WEF evaluation report published Monday from Switzerland. In the index, India ranked 62nd, Pakistan 52nd and Sri Lanka 40th. Compared to last year’s standing, Bangladesh advanced two notches to the 34th from previous 36th position, maintaining an overall score of 3.98 based on a 1-7 scale where 1 indicates worst and 7 best.
VAT online project gets revision in cost, time
The government revised the VAT online project for the second time with increased cost and extended implementation period. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) endorsed the development project along with 13 others on Tuesday at a total cost of Tk 62.28 billion at its meeting at the Planning Commission (PC) in Dhaka, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The meeting approved the Value Added Tax and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 (VAT Online) project at a cost of Tk 6.90 billion, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters after the meeting. He said the project cost has been revised up by 25 per cent from the original estimation while the execution deadline extended by two more years to December 2020.
City Gr to pour $ 100m into dedicated zone
City Group has decided to pump US$ 100 million this year into a dedicated economic zone as part of its expansion plan. The consumer goods colossus would set up several industrial units on 77.96 acres of land in Roopganj upazila of Narayanganj near the Shitalakkha River. Chairman and managing director (MD) of the group Fazlur Rahman disclosed this Tuesday after receiving the final licence for ‘City Economic Zone’. The group has already opened letters of credit for setting up seed crushing, auto rice and pulses mill and edible oil factories. Executive chairman (secretary) of BEZA Paban Chowdhury handed over the licence to City Group boss at a programme.
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.
BTRC to declare all operators eligible for 4G licenses
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has decided to be liberal with the mobile phone operators and declare all of the five applicants eligible for the fourth generation licenses. A team of the commission has already evaluated the applications for the license and spectrum auction. The panel took the decision in a meeting on Sunday and submitted the final report to the BTRC yesterday. The applications lack a lot of information but the panel could not be tough, as the authorities asked it to be tolerant on it. On January 14, the BTRC received five applications for 4G license, including those from state-run Teletalk and now out-of-service Citycell. However, Teletalk will not buy any spectrum now. Top three operators—Grameen-phone, Robi and Banglalink—are the main contenders for the launch of the fastest data service. However, none of the operators submitted documents to substantiate their claims on the total investment they have made so far in Bangladesh although the 4G guideline instructed the applicants to do so. The telecom regulator will declare its spectrum auction procedure on January 29 and a mock auction will take place on February 12. All operators but Teletalk will take part in the spectrum auction scheduled for February 13. The next day the regulator will declare the name of the bid winners. Winning companies will have to clear the payments within the next 30 days. From this auction, the government can earn BDT 110 billion if the entire spectrum is sold out.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 64.46||↓0.01||↓0.02%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 69.85||↓0.11||↓0.16%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,340.94||↓0.27||↓0.02%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.13|
|GBP 1||BDT 116.67|
|EUR 1||BDT 102.35|
|INR 1||BDT 1.31|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.