Inflation declines drastically
Inflation fell 61 basis points to 5.35 per cent in May from a month earlier owing to a drastic fall in food prices caused by a collapse in demand because of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the lowest general inflation rate in at least 23 months. In April, general inflation stood at 5.96 per cent, according to a Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) report. The BBS is expected to release the inflation figures for April and May today. The general inflation was 5.63 per cent in May last year and 5.58 per cent in April last year. Food inflation dropped 82 basis points to 5.09 per cent last month from 5.91 per cent in April. Non-food inflation also fell, to 5.75 per cent, down 29 basis points from April’s 6.04 per cent.General inflation in rural areas declined 43 basis points to 5.65 per cent in May from 6.08 per cent in April. Food inflation went down 56 basis points to 5.61 per cent and non-food inflation fell 19 basis points to 5.73 per cent. In urban areas, headline inflation came down drastically to 4.81 per cent, a decrease of 92 basis points from 5.73 per cent a month earlier. Food inflation gave up 1.39 percentage points to 3.94 per cent and non-food inflation declined 41 basis points to 5.79 per cent. The prices of rice, lentil, egg, vegetables, spices, onion and garlic fell in May compared to a month earlier, said officials of the BBS. The average inflation was 5.61 per cent between June 2019 and May 2020, up from 5.48 per cent a year earlier, BBS data showed. The government has targeted a 5.5 per cent inflation rate this fiscal year. It was able to contain it at 5.48 per cent last fiscal year, which is comfortably below the target of 5.6 per cent.
Now non-bank entities can set up ATMs
In a ground-breaking move, the central bank yesterday allowed non-bank entities to install automated teller machines and point-of-sale terminals across the country as part of its efforts to promote card-based transactions. The initiative will help people in the backwaters to settle transactions without going to banks as some private companies have expressed their intent to build a wider network of ATMs.Only banks are now allowed to build ATM and POS infrastructure but they are unwilling to expand the base further given the rising cost for maintenance, manpower and security. The central bank has worked on the issue for years and issued a detailed guideline yesterday, according to a Bangladesh Bank official. India’s central bank drew up such regulations in 2012 and let private companies set up ATMs in 2014. In many countries, banks hardly provide ATM services. Banks in Bangladesh usually set up ATMs and POS terminals based on the number of customers in a given area, said an official of a private bank.Besides, banks have to spend Tk 5-7 lakh to install an ATM and count a minimum of Tk 60,000 per month to maintain it. Besides cash withdrawal, clients will be allowed to transfer funds from one bank to another and pay their credit card bills through the ATMs. The entities should have Tk 45 crore in paid-up capital if they intend to offer ATM services only, while an additional bank guarantee of Tk 10 crore would be required for providing both ATM and POS services.As of January, banks have installed 10,961 ATMs and 60,474 POS terminals while they issued 15.56 lakh credit cards and 1.86 crore debit cards, according to data from the central bank. The number of ATMs and POS terminals will increase manifold as the central bank is allowing non-bank entities to set up the infrastructure.
StanChart contributes $1.6m for COVID-19
Standard Chartered Bangladesh has contributed $1.6 million to Red Cross and UNICEF programmes that are providing emergency relief to communities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, $300,000 will be contributed to the Red Cross for the provision of urgent medical support and $1.3 million to UNICEF for the immediate protection and education of vulnerable children. These donations are part of Standard Chartered PLC’s $10 million pledge – $5 million to Red Cross and $5 million to UNICEF – to support COVID-19 emergency relief activities in Asia and Africa. Working across several countries, the Red Cross and Red Crescent will support activities such as the provision of primary and secondary health care, communication of protection measures.
EBL launches ‘INSTA Account’
Eastern Bank Ltd. (EBL) on Sunday introduced an instant account opening solution -EBL INSTA Account – for the first time in Bangladesh under the e-KYC guideline. The leading private commercial bank (PCB) launched the solution to help customers and employees maintain maximum possible social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested persons can open such account within a minute.Talking to the FE, an EBL official said this account will be opened with the NID of the customer and will offer debit card as well as free cheque book facilities.Earlier on January 08 this year, the central bank of Bangladesh issued a circular pertaining to e-KYC (know your customer) applied to the country’s financial institutions. The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) had released the e-KYC guideline containing a set of instructions for the banks and non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) to enable them to conduct customer due diligence in a digital manner. The e-KYC is a combination of paperless customer onboarding, promptly identifying and verifying customer identity, maintaining KYC profile in a digital form and determining customer risk grading through digital means. The deadline for implementing the e-KYC is December 2020.
Uttara Bank revises dividend declaration for 2019
The board of directors of Uttara Bank has revised the recent dividend declaration for the year ended on December 31, 2019 following the central bank’s dividend declaration policy, said an official disclosure on Monday. Now the board of the bank has recommended 7.0 per cent cash and 23 per cent stock dividend for the year under review, said the disclosure. Earlier, the board of directors of the bank has declared 10 per cent cash and 25 per cent stock dividend for the year ended on December, 31, 2020. The central bank on May 11 suspended the payment of cash dividends by the banks until September 30 this year.
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)||$35.45 ||↑0.01||↑0.03%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 38.46||↑0.14||↑0.37%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.3414|
|GBP 1||BDT 103.590|
|EUR 1||BDT 92.7382|
|INR 1||BDT 1.10804|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<