Bangladesh Bank for ‘growth supportive’ MPS
The central bank has started preparations to formulate its next monetary policy, giving top priority to curb the rising trend of inflation and help the productive sectors achieve maximum economic growth. The priorities were suggested at an internal preparatory meeting on the monetary policy statement (MPS) at Bangladesh Bank (BB) headquarters. The meeting reviewed the country’s overall economic situation and suggested that the next MPS for the first half (H1) of the current fiscal year should be ‘growth-supportive’, with keeping inflation at reasonable level. The MPS is likely to be announced in the last week of this month. The meeting also emphasised on ensuring the quality of credit through strengthening monitoring and supervision by both the BB and the commercial banks. The BB’s latest move came against the backdrop of rising trend in the inflationary pressure on the economy in the just-concluded fiscal year (FY) 2017-18, following higher prices of food grains. The inflation rose to 5.78 per cent in the FY 18 on annual average basis from 5.44 per cent a year before. Food inflation stood at 7.13 per cent in the FY 18 as compared to 6.02 per cent in the previous fiscal. The government had set the inflation target at 5.6 per cent for the FY 19. In the next MPS, the central bank will put emphasis on boosting SMEs and agriculture loans along with micro-credit to create employment opportunities across the country.
Stocks end marginally lower amid high turnover
Stocks ended marginally lower on Monday as risk-averse investors were on selling spree on sector specific stocks. Following the previous day’s flat movement, the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and the Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) opened higher amid rising trading activities. After 30 minutes of trading, the DSEX gained more than 19 points while the CSE All Share Price Index (CASPI) of port city’s bourse advanced 38 points at 11:00am. After that it started to decline amid modest volatility. Finally, DSEX ended more than 24 points lower while CSE All Share Price Index fell 32 points at closing. DSEX, the benchmark index of the DSE, settled at 5,341, losing 24.74 points or 0.46 per cent over the previous session. The DS30 index, comprising blue chips, also fell 18.35 points or 0.95 per cent to finish at 1,910. However, the DSE Shariah Index advanced 1.03 points to close at 1,268. Turnover, the most important indicator of the market, rose to Tk 9.01 billion, which was 1.0 per cent higher than the previous session’s Tk 8.92 billion.
Current account deficit threatens macro stability
A sizeable current account deficit along with changing global and domestic liquidity conditions has made the management of macro-financial stability challenging. Identifying the challenge, the central bank has stressed “continued careful calibration” of the management of macro-financial stability. “Managing macro-financial stability in the face of a sizeable current account deficit, changing global and domestic liquidity conditions would require continued careful calibration,” the central bank said in its latest Bangladesh Bank Quarterly (BBQ) for January-March 2018, released on Monday. “Despite a large deficit, current account balance witnessed some improvements in Q3 of FY18, aided by a decline in trade deficit and strong remittance inflows,” it noted. However, the overall balance remained negative and widened during the third quarter (Q3) of the just-concluded fiscal year (FY) of 2017-18. Bangladesh’s overall balance of payments (BoP) slid to a deficit of $ 1.04 billion during the July-April period of the fiscal, which was a surplus of $ 2.30 billion in the same period of FY 17. On the other hand, the country’s current-account deficit reached $ 8.51 billion in the first ten months of FY 18 against $ 1.80 billion in the same period of the FY 17, the BB latest data showed. The higher trade deficit pushed up the current-account deficit during the period under review despite an uptrend in inward remittances.
Govt cuts minimum investment limit to attract small projects
The government has decided to reduce the minimum investment ceiling for projects to be implemented under the public private partnership (PPP) on a government to government (G to G) basis, officials said. Under the existing policy, the lowest investment under such arrangement has to be US$ 250 million. The board of governors of the PPP Authority at a recent meeting decided to lower the ceiling to $ 150 million to raise the number of such projects. In this connection, the PPP Authority has been asked to take necessary steps to amend the relevant clause of the PPP policy. Countries such as the United Kingdom, Turkey, South Korea, Egypt, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have responded with positively to the concept. The authority is in preliminary talks with those countries to promote the idea.
NBR to collect 15pc VAT on port services
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) will collect Value Added Tax (VAT) at a rate of 15 per cent on port services for operating international flights. Although in the budget proposal, Finance Minister offered VAT exemption on the service charges, later he re-enforced the tax on June 28. NBR officials said the VAT authority withdrew the exemption after it found many of the countries are collecting VAT from these sources. They said VAT on the charges and fees of various types of services such as aeronautical and non-aeronautical services are one of the major sources of revenue. The IATA official made the plea to the Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO). Later, the PMO forwarded it to the NBR for taking necessary action. In the letter, he wrote that levying of VAT on various aeronautical charges was a matter of serious concern to the aviation sector. ‘Imposing VAT in this manner is not only counter to international standards, policies and agreements but unnecessarily increases the cost of travel to passengers and the cost of exports to businesses,’ the IATA official wrote. Bangladesh is a signatory to such policies and agreements.
Govt issues counter-guarantees for BCIC
The government has issued five counter-guarantees worth Tk 48 billion for Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) to facilitate uninterrupted import of fertiliser. Existing counter-guarantees involving Tk 30 billion, Tk 10 billion, Tk 4.0 billion, Tk 2.0 billion and Tk 2.0 billion were issued in favour of Sonali, Janata, Krishi, BASIC and Rupali banks respectively. Finance Division stipulates that the banks keep the liabilities at fixed level. In August 2017, the finance ministry issued counter-guarantees against the loans provided by Sonali Bank, Janata Bank, Krishi Bank, BASIC Bank and Rupali Bank. But the tenure of loan guarantees expired in June last. The government set a target to import 1.55 million tonnes of urea in fiscal year 2017-18. Of the amount, LCs has already been opened for over 1.34 million tonnes.
Parties seek more time to finalise proposals
Both factory owners and workers’ representatives to the readymade garment sector minimum wage board on Sunday failed to submit their wage proposals in the second meeting of the board and sought more time to finalize the proposals. ‘As per the decision of the first meeting of the minimum wage board for reviewing RMG workers’ wages, representatives of both factory owners and workers were supposed to submit separate proposals of minimum wages to the board in the second meeting, but they sought more time. The board allowed eight more days to the representatives of both the parties and asked them to submit their proposals on July 16 in the third meeting of the board.
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)||$73.91||↓0.16||↓0.22%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$78.24||↑0.76||↑0.98%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.36|
|GBP 1||BDT 111.69|
|EUR 1||BDT 99.06|
|INR 1||BDT 1.22|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.