Singapore keen to invest in financial sector
A high-powered business delegation from Singapore yesterday showed keen interest to invest in the banking and financial sector as it offers immense growth potential. “There is business potential for foreign banks in Bangladesh and a few international banks already operate here,” said Teo Siong Seng, chairman of the Singapore Business Federation and the head of the delegation. He said Singaporean businessmen are also interested to invest in pharmaceuticals, shipping, engineering, construction, hospitality, power and infrastructure. Other preferred areas for investors included ICT, professional services and credit rating services. In 2016-17, Bangladesh imported goods worth $2.44 billion and exported goods worth $335.12 million, according to the FBCCI.
Leading firms stand by SMEs
Nine leading companies from different sectors joined hands on Monday to launch a platform to provide special services to entrepreneurs of small and medium enterprises. The “ONE” platform will comprise DHL Express Bangladesh, Grameenphone, Eastern Bank Ltd, The Daily Star, Green Delta Insurance Company Ltd, Hatil, Fair Distribution Ltd (distributor of Samsung), Ispahani Group and TVS Motor Company. A “ONE Card” was also unveiled by EBL, the platform’s banking and financial partner, during the launching at The Westin Dhaka. The card will serve as an identity card while providing banking options through which SME customers will be able to avail different services and benefits offered by the platform’s partners. The platform will start off by catering to the needs of the 3,000 existing SME customers of DHL Express Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Bank faces tough task to lower inflation after spike
The central bank may face a challenge to bring down the average annual inflation to 5.6 per cent in the current fiscal year (FY) after it exceeded the target in the last fiscal. The average annual inflation exceeded the government target of 5.5 per cent in FY 2017-18 mainly due to higher prices of food grains, according to Bangladesh Bank (BB) officials. Now the BB and other concerned authorities would face a tough task to lower the inflation. The inflation rose to 5.78 per cent in FY ’18 on the annual average basis from 5.44 per cent a year before, according to the latest data of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. The figure was 5.92 per cent in FY ’16. Food inflation stood at 7.13 per cent in FY ’18 as compared to 6.02 per cent in the previous fiscal. On the other hand, non-food inflation came down to 3.74 per cent from 4.61 per cent. The BB is giving top priority to curbing the rising trend of inflation and helping the productive sectors achieve maximum economic growth.
Stocks bounce back after falling into correction
Stocks rebounded on Tuesday while the daily trade turnover on Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) scaled Tk 10-billion mark after eight months as the investors put fresh stakes on stocks. Turnover, an important indicator of the market, stood at Tk 10.88 billion on the country’s premier bourse, climbing further by 21 per cent over previous day’s mark of Tk 9.01 billion. It was the biggest single-day transaction in the last eight months since November 21, 2017, when the turnover totalled a record Tk 10.91 billion. Along with turnover, DSEX, the prime index of the DSE, also went up by 30 points or 0.56 per cent to settle at 5,371. The two other indices also edged higher. The DS30 index, comprising blue chips, advanced 1.08 points to settle at 1,911 and the DSE Shariah Index gained 2.76 points to close at 1,271. Of the traded issues, 183 closed higher, 99 ended lower with 57 issues remaining unchanged on the DSE trading floor. The port city bourse also ended higher with its All Share Price Index–CASPI– advancing 87 points to settle at 16,548 and the Selective Categories Index – CSCX –gaining 53 points to finish at 10,012. The gainers beat losers as 152 issues closed higher, 73 ended lower and 25 remained unchanged on the CSE. The CSE traded 19.52 million shares and mutual fund units worth more than Tk 621 million in turnover.
Vanguard AML Growth Fund’ in the offing
Vanguard Asset Management Limited (VAML) is in the process of adding a new open-ended mutual fund named ‘Vanguard AML Growth Fund’ to its existing portfolio. In this regard, a ‘Trust Deed’ signing ceremony was held at Investment Corporation of Bangladesh’s (ICB) head office on Monday, according to a statement. VAML is the sponsor and asset manager of the ‘Vanguard AML Growth Fund’ while ICB will act as the trustee and custodian of the fund. According to the statement, the initial target of this fund will be Tk. 100 million and the sponsor will provide Tk. 100 million which is 10 per cent of initial fund size. As an open-end mutual fund, the size of the Fund will be increased from time to time by the AMC on requisition from the investors with due approval of the Trustee and notification to the BSEC.
SME loans dip by 10pc in Q1 as liquidity crisis bites
SME loan disbursement by banks and non-bank financial institutions declined by 10.34 per cent or Tk 4,201 crore in the first three months (January-March) of the year 2018 compared with that in the same period of the previous year. As per a recently released central bank report, banks and NBFIs disbursed Tk 36,419.55 crore in loans to the SME sector in the first quarter of the year 2018, while the figure was Tk 40,620.54 crore in the same quarter last year. Association of Bankers, Bangladesh chairman Sayed Mahbubur Rahman told New Age, ‘It could be the overall stressed liquidity situation prevailing in the banking sector that was behind the slowdown in the SME loan disbursement.’ He, however, said that the SME loan disbursement situation might improve gradually depending on the overall liquidity situation at banks. Although SME loan disbursement to the service and manufacturing sectors increased in January-March, loans to entrepreneurs associated with the trade sector fell sharply by 34.03 per cent or Tk 9,046 crore. In January-March this year, SME loans to entrepreneurs associated with the trade sector declined to Tk 17,534.21 crore while the figure was Tk 26,580 crore in the same quarter in 2017. The number of beneficiary entrepreneurs also fell by 23.8 per cent to 1,19,423 in the first quarter of 2018 from 1,56,740 a year ago. In January-March, entrepreneurs associated with the manufacturing sector received 28.16 per cent, or Tk 2,711 crore, higher loans from banks and NBFIs. The entities disbursed Tk 12,337 crore to the manufacturing sector in the quarter, whereas the loan disbursement figure was Tk 9,626 crore in January-March last year. SME loans to the service sector increased by 48.37 per cent, or Tk 2,134 crore, to Tk 6,548.02 crore in January-March of 2018 from Tk 4,413.25 crore in the first quarter of 2017.
Runner Auto gets BSEC nod to discover IPO cut-off price
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday granted Runner Automobiles Ltd permission to set the cut-off price of its shares through completing electronic bidding under the book building method of initial public offering. The commission at a meeting gave the permission to the company which aims to raise Tk 100 crore through IPO. Under the electronic bidding process in which only the institutional investors participate, the cut-off price of the shares of an IPO-seeking company is set based on the bids submitted by the investors. Although the institutional investors are supposed to purchase shares of that company at the cut-off price, the individual investors get scope for purchasing the scrip at 10 per cent discounted price through IPO. Runner Automobiles will use the IPO proceeds for research and development, purchase of machinery, repaying bank loans and meeting expenditure for IPO process. The company’s weighted average earning per share was Tk 3.31 and net asset value per share Tk 55.70 (including reevaluated reserve) and Tk 41.49 excluding reevaluated reserve. IDLC Finance Ltd is the issue manager for the company’s IPO. The BSEC at the meeting also changed the wording of a notification related to mandatory shareholding by the sponsor-directors of a listed company.
Country’s trade deficit soared by 84 per cent to $17.2 billion in the July-May period of the just concluded fiscal year (2017-2018) as import payments surged past $50 billion in the 11 months. Current account balance also reached negative $9.3 billion in the first 11 months of FY18, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data. The gap in trade balance and current account balance was $9.3 billion and $2.2 billion respectively in the same period of the previous fiscal year (2016-2017), the data showed. Overall balance also remained in the negative zone with $970 million in the period of FY18, which was $2.6 billion in the same period of FY17. Terming the situation a matter of concern for both external and internal sectors of the economy, economists and experts stressed prompt and required steps to address the causes of the situation. According to the central bank data, import payments grew by 25.52 per cent to $50.5 billion in July-May of FY18 against $40.2 billion in the same period of FY17. On the other hand, export earnings grew only by 7.79 per cent to $33.3 billion in the period of last fiscal year compared with that of $30.9 billion in the same months of the previous fiscal year. The deficit in current account balance may cross $10.5 billion in FY18 if the annual export earnings are considered. Export earnings stood at $36.66 billion with 5.81 per cent growth in FY18 over the previous FY17, according to the Export Promotion Bureau data.