Banks cut rates to 10.57% in May
The country’s scheduled banks in May cut their rates of interest on lending further against the backdrop of the businesses’ persistent reluctance to borrow from banks due to a sluggish business situation worsened by political uncertainties and vulnerable law and order situation, said Bangladesh Bank officials. According to the latest BB data, the weighted average interest rate on lending in the banking sector declined to 10.57 % in May from 10.64 % in April of 2016. The weighted average rate on lending was 10.78 % in March, 10.91 % in February and 11.05 % in January of this year. The weighted average interest rate on lending had declined throughout last year. From 12.32 % in January 2015, it dropped to 12.23 % in February, to 11.93 % in March, to 11.88 % in April, to 11.82 % in May, to 11.67 % in June, to 11.57 % in July, to 11.51 % in August, to 11.48 % in September, to 11.35 % in October, to 11.27 % in November, and to 11.18 % in December 2015. The BB data showed that the weighted average interest rate on deposit of the banks also decreased to 5.67 % in May from 5.77 % in April of 2016. The BB official said that majority of the banks had recently cut their interest rates both on deposits and lending in the face of dull business.
Government’s net bank borrowing reaches BDT 48.1 billion in FY 16
The government’s borrowing from the country’s banking system jumped in the last week of June to partly finance its budget deficit in the just concluded fiscal year (FY), 2015-16, officials said on Thursday. The government’s net bank borrowing stood at BDT 48.1 billion as on June 30, according to the central bank’s confidential report. A year ago it was in the negative, amounting to BDT 68.70 billion. Actual borrowing from the banking system for FY 15 was BDT 5.1 billion, according to the budget document for FY 17. Talking to the FE, a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said the government has already availed both overdraft (OD) drawing facility and ways and means advances (WMAs) to finance its deficit. The government is now empowered to borrow up to BDT 40.0 billion from the central bank under WMAs to meet its day-to-day expenditures without issuing any securities. Besides, the government’s limit for OD drawing from BB has been fixed at BDT 40.0 billion. It borrowed BDT 88.0 billion from the central bank using WMAs and OD as on June 30, 2016, while BDT 39.95 billion was paid to the scheduled banks against its total liabilities, according to the BB report.
ACC opens probe against wasteful insurance firms: 17 life firms spend BDT 17.8 billion beyond limits
The national anti-graft body has opened investigations against 17 life-insurance firms for allegedly spending over BDT 17.81 billion beyond legal limit. Earlier, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) took the allegations into cognizance after publication of audit reports on the 17 life firms. The state-owned Jiban Bima Corporation (JBC) is among them. The insurers had higher management expenditure and such extravagance is taken as tantamount to ‘misappropriation’. People familiar with the developments at the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA) said they usually spent the money on charity or for other purposes by depriving policyholders. According to an IDRA study, there were many life firms which spent significantly higher on their management. Fareast Life Insurance spent BDT 2.0 billion during the six years, JBC BDT 2.8 billion, Popular Life Insurance Company BDT 2.9 billion, Padma Islami Life BDT 1.7 billion, Pragati Life Insurance BDT 1.5 billion, Sandhani Life Insurance BDT 1.6 billion, and Golden Life BDT 1.6 billion. By a contrast, the US-based MetLife had negative management expenditure during the period. The MetLife management spent BDT 1.6 billion less than their allowable limit during 2009-2015.
Bangladesh among 10 countries set to become new drivers of global growth: BMI Research
Bangladesh has been named one of 10 emerging markets that are set become new drivers of global economic growth over the next 10 years. BMI Research report says the economy is heading for impressive growth, lifted by the apparel and construction sectors. The report released last month by the US-based research firm of the Fitch Group has identified Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan as “10 emerging markets of the future.” The countries will add about USD 4.3 trillion to the global gross domestic product by 2025, providing significant opportunities for investors and roughly the equivalent of Japan’s current economy, the report said. “Bangladesh’s export-oriented industrial sector already accounts for more than a quarter of GDP and will continue to develop as a global manufacturing hub in the coming years,” according to the report. In general, manufacturing and construction are the sectors that will drive the economies. BMI reports that new manufacturing hubs are set to emerge in Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Pakistan, and that these countries will see particularly strong growth in exporting manufacturing industries. And construction growth is going to be widespread throughout all the countries — partly to facilitate increases in urban populations and partly to help develop the manufacturing sector, it said.
USD 37.0 billion export target set for this fiscal
The government has set the country’s export earnings target at USD 37.0 billion for the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17 on the back of apparel sector. The target is around 8.0% up from the country’s export earnings received in the FY 2015-16 and nearly 10.5% higher than the target fixed in the last fiscal. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said the country’s export earnings reached a new peak of USD 34.2 billion in the FY 2015-16, exceeding the target of USD 33.5 billion. Besides, the country’s total export receipts in the FY 2014-16 also registered a 9.7% growth over that of the previous fiscal, he added. Mentioning that the government has set a target of attaining a USD 60.0 billion export target by the year 2021, the commerce minister said if the current growth trend persists, it will not be difficult to achieve it. Of the total export target, earnings from shipment of the apparel sector have been earmarked at USD 30.3 billion for the FY 2016-17, which is around 8.0% higher than that of last fiscal. Readymade garment sector is the largest export-earning sector, which currently accounts for nearly 82.0% of the country’s total export receipts.
Real estate shows signs of recovery
The housing market is witnessing a gradual rebound in sales, thanks to property price corrections, falling interest on home loans and return of political stability. Many developers were on the verge of collapse because of a dip in sales in the last couple of years, he added. Since 2012, the once-burgeoning real estate sector has been in difficult times due to intermittent political instability, a squeeze on bank loans, a bearish stock market, and the government’s apathy towards providing gas connections to new buildings. Apartment sales fell to its lowest level at 1,749 units in 2014 from a recent high of 2,589 units recorded in 2011, putting realtors in a tough patch, according to REHAB. The number of unsold apartments rose fourfold, from 3,018 units in 2010 to 12,185 units in 2014. At present, the number stands at about 10,000, according to industry stakeholders. Alamin said a property price correction in the past few years has created interest among home buyers again. Sales picked up in the second half of 2015 that continued till the end of June, according to Mohammad Farhaduzzaman, marketing in-charge of Eastern Housing Ltd, one of the oldest realtors. REHAB is yet to finalize the sales figures for 2015 and 2016. Farhaduzzaman estimates that nearly 2,000 apartments might have been handed over to buyers in fiscal 2015-16. The number was about 1,500 a year ago, he added.
Footwear exports record impressive growth
The footwear industry recorded 27.0% growth in four years, from 2012 to 2015, a recent research report of the Leather Goods and Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) has found. In 2014-15 fiscal, Bangladesh exported leather and leather goods worth USD 1.13 billion against USD 1.12 billion in the previous fiscal year, making it the second highest contributor to the national exports after apparel. The country earned USD 1.2 billion from export of leather and leather goods in 2015-16 fiscal, which was 7.3% higher than that of 2014-15. The footwear export is now set to be the next to the ready-made garment (RMG) sector of the country. Bangladesh has the potential to emerge as the next footwear manufacturing hub attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the report said. Bangladesh’s footwear industry shares 3.0% of the global leather market in volume while 95.0% of its output is exported. Apex Footwear, Jennys Shoes, Bay Footwear, Leatherex and Bata Shoe are leading exporters of footwear. Companies like Orion, Crescent and others have also joined the industry with young and industrious workforce. The LFMEAB report said Japan and Germany are now the biggest markets for Bangladeshi footwear which is also exported to Italy, the UK, France, Belgium, the USA, Sweden, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada and Korea.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$45.95||+0.27||+0.59%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$47.61||+0.24||+0.51%|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||18,516.55||+10.14||+0.05%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.38*|
|GBP 1||BDT 103.39*|
|EUR 1||BDT 86.48*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.