Inflation crawls down
Inflation came down 9 basis points to 6.39 percent in June on the back of a decline in food prices, according to Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. In the international market, the prices of various consumer items, including sugar, edible oil and lentil, witnessed a decline. Alongside, the production of corn and rice was good, which pulled down inflation. In June, food inflation declined 58 basis points to 5.98 percent. In the previous month too it declined: 95 basis points to 6.56 percent. But in May, non-food inflation went up 41 basis points from April. However, the food inflation is still high and could rise in the near future with increase in rice prices due to the re-imposition of 25 percent customs and 3 percent regulatory duties on rice imports in the budget for fiscal 2018-19. “Also, the international commodity prices are gaining strength, depreciation of the taka is continuing and monetary policy has recently shifted towards an expansionary stance.”
Average inflation rises in FY18
Average annual inflation increased by 0.44 percentage points in the just concluded financial year 2017-2018 compared with that of previous FY 2016-2017, according to data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Average general inflation between July, 2017 and June, 2018 stood at 5.78 per cent against 5.44 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year. The rate of annual average inflation also remained higher than the government’s target of 5.5 per cent in the FY 2018. The point-to-point inflation, however, declined to 5.54 per cent in June, the last month of the FY18, from that of 5.57 per cent in May due mainly to a fall in food inflation despite significant rise in non-food inflation in the month. Food inflation dropped to 5.98 per cent in June from that of 6.56 per cent a month ago, the data showed. Non-food inflation, however, increased to 4.87 per cent in the month from 4.08 per cent in May. On the other hand, general inflation remained unchanged and food inflation dropped while non-food inflation increased significantly in the rural areas in the month. In June, general inflation, food and non-food inflation in the urban areas stood at 6.39 per cent, 7.63 per cent and 5.03 per cent respectively which was 6.48 per cent, 8.69 per cent and 4.08 per cent respectively in the previous month. Overall, food and non-food inflation in rural areas stood at 5.07 per cent, 5.25 per cent and 4.76 per cent respectively in June.
NBFIs want state banks’ deposits to lower interest
Non-bank financial institutions have demanded low-cost deposits from state banks like private banks so that they can lend at single digit interest rate. The development comes after the NBFIs yesterday sat with the Bangladesh Bank governor and sought policy support from him such as deposits from the state banks at 6.5 percent interest rate. From July 1 banks started to bring down the lending rate to 9 percent. At the meeting, the NBFIs also promised to bring down the interest rate to single digit immediately after getting the policy support. The NBFIs will firstly decrease the interest rate on women entrepreneurs, SME-related manufacturing sector and export-led businesses, said the managing director of the National Housing Finance and Investments Ltd.
Stocks keep falling on financial sector, foreign investment worries
Dhaka stocks on Tuesday plunged for 3rd day hitting one-and-a-half-year low as investors continued with heavy share sales amid their concern over the financial market and continuous fund withdrawal from the capital market by the foreign investors. DSEX, the key index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, dropped 0.92 per cent, or 49.24 points, to close at 5,273.16 on Tuesday. The core index hit fresh 18-month low after January 9, 2017 when DSEX was at 5214.60 points. The DSEX lost 155.81 points in the last three trading sessions. The Bangladesh Bank on Monday declared that state-owned commercial banks would deposit their funds with private commercial banks at 6 per cent interest rate to assist the private commercial banks for implementing the banks owners’ decision to cut lending rate to 9 per cent. The foreigners usually withdraw investments in an election year that also is weighing on the index. The net foreign investment at the DSE stood at Tk 71 crore in FY18, hitting seven years low. It plummeted by 96.83 per cent or Tk 2,196.66 crore from the previous fiscal year (2016-17). The foreign investment was negative in last three consecutive months with the net investment position was over Tk 200 crore negative in each of the months. The financial sector led the nosedive on Tuesday with a fall in the share prices of non-bank financial institutions and banks by 2.14 per cent and 1.13 per cent respectively. The average share prices of telecommunication, cement and pharmaceutical sectors also declined by 1.07 per cent, 1.29 points and 0.95 per cent respectively. A plunge in the share prices of Grameenphone, BRAC Bank and Olympic Industries contributed most to the day’s downward trend. The turnover at the DSE dropped to Tk 627.88 crore on Tuesday compared with that of Tk 784.75 crore in the previous session. DS30, the blue-chip index of the DSE, plunged further by 1.11 per cent, or 21.29 points, to close at 1,894.53 points. Shariah index DSES shed 0.90 per cent, or 11.24 points, to close at 1,236.52 points.
Merchant banks get more time for loss provisioning
The securities regulator has extended the timeframe by two years to complete provisioning of the unrealised losses in the portfolios of merchant banks and their clients. The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) extended the timeframe following a request by Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association (BMBA). The existing timeframe in this regard is scheduled to end on December 31, 2018. Previously, the BSEC extended the timeframe for five times. Presently, there are 60 merchant banks operating in the country’s capital market.
DSE to buy 123 cos’ share to execute trade settlement
The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) announced to buy 123 companies shares on behalf of two brokerage houses on Tuesday to execute trade settlement. DSE officials said two brokerage houses failed to execute settlement of 123 companies’ shares with Central Depository Bangladesh Limited (CDBL) which were traded on Monday. Willing seller(s) are requested to intimate DSE Clearing house prior to placing sale order. Once trade is executed Selling Broker(s) are also requested to transfer the shares to DSE Clearing A/C (BO ID # 1100001000000035) from Broker Clearing A/C using Pay-Out Process within 2:30pm, DSE said in a statement on Tuesday.
Jute Spinner Ltd’s share price soaring despite no production
The share price of Jute Spinners Limited, a “Z” category company, was soaring despite the company’s production remained close since 2006. In three consecutive sessions, the share price jumped more than 15 per cent or Tk 27.8 each to reach Tk 183.20 on Monday, and almost doubled (195 per cent) in last one year from Tk 62.20 on July 4 last year. Following the recent abnormal price hike, the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) served show-cause notice on the company, but it replied on Tuesday that there was no undisclosed price sensitive information. The company also informed that the production of the company is closed since June, 2006 and the management could not resume its production and business activities. Earlier in January this year, the company also replied to a DSE query that they are surprised seeing the unusual price hike of shares and the volume of trade in the market. However, the company’s share price fell 6.49 per cent on Tuesday to close at Tk 171.30 each. The “Z” category company, which was listed on the Dhaka bourse in 1984, failed to pay dividend over the years.
ADP spending hits record high
Spending on development projects hit 93.09 percent of allocation in the just concluded fiscal year, the highest in the country’s history, riding on a massive escalation in expenditure in the last month of fiscal 2017-18. Ministries and divisions spent Tk 146,703 crore of the revised annual development programme (ADP) in the last fiscal year, according to Planning Minister. ADP implementation rate stood at 89.76 percent in 2016-17 when the government spent Tk 107,085 crore. Historically, the ADP spending rate remains low in the beginning of a fiscal year and gets momentum in the second half of the year. In July-May of 2017-18, the ministries and divisions together spent Tk 98,978 crore against the full-year’s revised allocation of Tk 157,594 crore, according to the Implemen-tation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED). This meant they used Tk 48,725 crore in June alone against their monthly average expenditure of Tk 8,998 crore in the preceding 11 months. In the last fiscal year, the use of the government’s own fund was Tk 87,973 crore, accounting for 91.32 percent of the allocation. It was 92.85 percent, or Tk 72,145 crore, in the previous fiscal year. On the other hand, 100.30 percent, or Tk 52,206 crore, of the allocation from foreign funds was spent, up from 78.97 percent a year earlier.
World Bank projects 6.7pc growth for Bangladesh this fiscal year
The World Bank (WB) has projected 6.7 per cent economic growth in fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 for Bangladesh. The global lending agency has made the projection in its ‘Global Economic Prospects (GEP)’ in June 2018. “In Bangladesh, growth is expected to recover from the effects of natural disasters in FY2017/18 and reach 6.7 per cent in FY2018/19, supported in part by robust export growth and remittances,” the GEP said. The WB in its GEP also forecast 7.0 per cent GDP (gross domestic product) growth for Bangladesh in FY 2019-20 and FY 2020-21. About South Asia, the WB said growth in the region is projected to accelerate to 6.9 per cent in 2018, mainly reflecting strengthening domestic demand in India as temporary policy-driven disruptions fade. Elsewhere in the region, ongoing recoveries in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are expected to be accompanied by moderating activity in Afghanistan, Bhutan and the Maldives.
Nordic firms betting big on Bangladesh
Nordic companies are faring well and are optimistic about their future in the country, found a survey by the Nordic Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Bangladesh and the Sweden Bangladesh Business Council. As many as 94 percent of the survey respondents said they would be expanding their operations with an expected investment of 213 million euros (about Tk 2,000 crore) over the next three years. The disclosure in the Business Confidence Survey 2017, which was supported by the embassies of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, can be viewed as an endorsement of the country’s business climate and investment outlook. The survey was conducted from December 3 last year to February 15 this year and was sent out to 52 companies that are all members of NCCI. Of them 22 completed the survey. Between 2014 and 2017, the Nordic companies have invested 167 million euros (about Tk 1,400 crore) in Bangladesh, according to the survey, which was unveiled on Monday at a program in Dhaka. As many as 82 percent of the respondents are looking to expand their operations in Bangladesh over the next three years, which is a slightly lower number compared with those in 2015 and 2013.
Bay’s leather park eyes $25m Chinese fund
Chinese companies are likely to invest Tk 200 crore ($25 million) at the Bay’s planned leather and footwear industrial park in the Mirsarai Economic Zone in Chittagong. According to Bay Group, 18 leather and footwear makers based in China are interested to make the investment in order to produce leather goods and footwear. The investment figure is an initial estimation and it will go up gradually, said an official of the group. At least 1,000 jobs will be created directly at the park. A business meeting between Bay Group and the Chinese investors’ group will take place at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka today with a view to establishing the industrial park. Its current annual production capacity stands at 2 million to 4 million pieces and it has already created jobs for about 4,500 people. The leather and leather goods sector, the second largest export earner after garments, fetched $999.07 million in the July-May period of the just concluded fiscal year.
Govt appoints 60 engineers to expedite RMG factory remediation
The government has appointed 60 engineers to expedite the readymade garment factory remediation works under the Remediation Coordination Cell. ‘Out of 60 engineers, 40 joined on July 1 and rest 20 joined on July 2. With the appointment, the RCC would be stronger and the factory remediation works would be expedited’. Following the Rana Plaza Building collapse in April 2013 that killed more than 1,100 people, a total of 3,780 garment factories were assessed under the three initiatives: European retailer platform Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, North American buyers’ platform Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the government lead and ILO supported national initiative. About 85 per cent and 89 per cent remediation works were completed in Accord and Alliance listed factories. Out of 3,780 garment factories, 1,549 were inspected under the national initiative, from which 573 were closed down, 79 relocated and 130 units were shifted to the Accord and Alliance lists. Currently, the DIFE monitors remediation works in 755 factories through the ‘remediation coordination cell’ formed in May last year. Out of 755 factories, a total of 165 units are yet to start remediation work, while 192 factories made progress below 20 per cent.
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)||$74.57||↑0.46||↑0.62%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$77.71||↓0.17||↓0.22%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.42|
|GBP 1||BDT 110.14|
|EUR 1||BDT 97.34|
|INR 1||BDT 1.21|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.