Sharp fall in bank deposit growth
The country’s banking sector witnessed a sharp fall in deposit growth in March as banks were slashing their interest rates continuously almost every month during the last two years. The average deposit growth rate came down to 8.3% in March this year compared to 12.5% in the same month of the last year. The weighted average interest rate on deposit dropped to 5.8% as of April, this year, which was 7.0% in the same month of the last year, according to the central bank data. On the other hand, the private sector credit growth continued to grow faster with record of 15.6% in April, far above from the monetary target of 14.8% set for June this year. The total credit to the private sector stood at BDT 6,447.0 billion in April. At a recent meeting held with the top managers of all the commercial banks, Bangladesh Bank has already raised its concern over the aggressive credit growth against the falling trend in deposit growth.
Country sees rise in export earnings in 11 months
Country’s export earnings increased by 8.9% in the first 11 months of the current fiscal year (FY), 2015-16, reports BSS. According to statistics of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), the country earned USD 30.76 billion against the target of USD 30.2 billion. The export earnings in the first 11 months from July 2015 to May 2016 is 1.5% more than the target fixed. The export income in the corresponding period last year was USD 28.1 billion. The export earnings in the month of May this year increased by 6.5% compared to the earnings recorded in the corresponding period in 2015. The total export earning in May was USD 3.0 billion against the target of USD 3.1 billion. The earning in May last year was USD 2.8 billion.
Trade deficit narrows, helped by exports
Trade deficit narrowed 10.2% in the first ten months of the fiscal year as exports grew twice as imports. Between July last year and April this year, trade deficit stood at USD 5.3 billion in contrast to USD 5.9 billion a year earlier, according to Bangladesh Bank’s balance of payments data. In the first ten months of fiscal 2015-16, exports grew 8.4% and imports 4.8%, which had the effect of slightly squeezing the trade deficit. Though the country’s garment sector suffers from an image crisis regarding the working conditions, its exports appear to be going from strength to strength. In the first eight months of the fiscal year, garment exports grew 10.1% — a development that tilted the trade balance in Bangladesh’s favour. Among the main export markets, the country’s exports to both the US and Europe have soared, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said in his budget speech. The reason for the slow import growth is the lack of investment appetite. In the first ten months of fiscal 2015-16, capital machinery imports increased 12.2% against 20.8% recorded a year earlier, according to letters of credit settlement statistics.
IDLC AMC to manage MFs
The securities regulator has issued the license of Asset Management Company (AMC) to manage mutual funds (MFs) by the IDLC AMC, officials said. After issuance of the license, the IDLC AMC will manage MFs as a subsidiary of the IDLC Finance. On January 6, 2016 the IDLC Finance applied for the license of an asset management company. Thereafter, the IDLC Finance deposited registration fee following the consent of issuing license by the regulator. A team of the securities regulator visited the office of the IDLC Asset Management Company and submitted a report to the commission. The concerned department issued license in favour of IDLC AMC following the report of the BSEC team which visited the office of IDLC AMC. In its official website, the IDLC Finance said the principal objective of the IDLC Asset Management Company is to carry out the business of asset management, primarily, through launching and managing mutual funds to cater to the diverse needs of investors. “Besides, institutional fund management, IDLC AML also aims at creating avenues for alternative investments through private equity and venture capital,” the IDLC Finance said. Presently, there are 19 asset management companies licensed by the securities regulator.
World Bank predicts decline in GDP growth next fiscal
The World Bank (WB), in its latest report, has predicted Bangladesh’s economic growth in the upcoming fiscal at 6.3%, 0.2% less than the growth it has projected for the outgoing fiscal (1015-16), due to lesser harvests and slower credit growth. The WB growth forecast is 0.9% points lower than the government projection of 7.2% for the fiscal year 2016-17. The WB forethought on the country’s economic prospect, which came as part of its update on the global economic outlook, also bears a note of caution about Bangladesh’s future foreign-exchange income because of Middle East’s belt tightening. “…remittance flows could slow sharply if Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries implement deeper-than-expected spending cuts,” the global multilateral development financier said. The ‘Global Economic Prospects (GEP)’ update was unveiled across the world Wednesday (Bangladesh time) by the World Bank from its Washington headquarters. The WB says the gross in domestic product (GDP) growth in the upcoming FY would be 0.2% points lower than its 6.5% forecast for the current FY, 2015-16.
In another trick, United Air wants lock-in on newly-issued shares to go
United Airways (BD) Limited has requested the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission to scrap a three-year lock-in the regulator put on its (company) shares worth BDT 3.1 billion which will be issued to a little-known Singapore-based company, Swift Air Cargo Pte Limited. Tasbirul Ahmed Chowdhury, managing director of United Airways, made the request recently in a letter to the BSEC after the regulator had approved issuance of shares worth BDT 4.0 billion by the private airline to three companies including Swift Air. The flight operations of United Airways have remained suspended since March in line with its frequent suspension of flights in last few years. The BSEC on June 1 allowed United Airways to issue shares worth BDT 4.0 billion through private placement to Swift Air, another Singapore-based company Phoenix Aircraft Leasing Pte Limited and a local company TAC Aviation Limited for ‘purchasing aircraft and repayment of existing liabilities’. Of the pledged shares, BDT 3.1 billion will be issued to Swift Air, while the rest amount will be given to Phoenix and TAC Aviation at an issue price of BDT 10 each.
Bangladesh cotton importers shift orders from India over price hike
Cotton exports from India, the world’s biggest producer, have nearly halted as local prices have rallied due to tight supplies because of drought, forcing key importers like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Vietnam to turn to other suppliers. The freeze in Indian export will prompt Brazil, Australia and United States to raise shipments and has pushed global prices to near their highest since August. The price rise could subsequently push up fabric and clothing prices and put pressure on the margins of garment makers. ‘In last three-four weeks Indian exporters could not sign a deal. Our cotton is more expensive than Brazilian or Australian supplies,’ said Chirag Patel, chief executive officer at Jaydeep Cotton Fibers Pvt Ltd, a leading exporter. The landed cost of Indian cotton for buyers in Pakistan and Bangladesh is at 75 cents to 76 cents per lb compared to around 73 cents for Brazilian cotton, he said. Pakistan and Bangladesh prefer Indian cotton due to lower freight charges. Local cotton spot market prices have surged 10% from a month ago to 38,400 rupees per candy of 356 kg (73.5 cents per lb) due to limited supplies after consecutive droughts cut production. A candy is equivalent to about two Indian bales of 170 kg each. India may produce about 34.1 million bales of cotton in the 2015/16 season that started on Oct. 1, down from last year’s output of 38.3 million, the Cotton Association of India estimates.
VAT exemption for herbal medicine, ready-mix concrete to continue
The National Board of Revenue (NBR) has extended Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption on ayurvedic, unani and herbal medicines and also on ready-mix concrete. These products had been enjoying VAT exemption on production stage. However, the budget documents for fiscal year 2016-17 did not include the provisions, officials said. “The benefit was not extended mainly due to mistake by officials,” an official said, asking not to be named. To extend the benefit, NBR has published a special order signed by its second secretary M Moshiur Rahman on Tuesday. The order of VAT exemption, however, came into effect from June 2, 2016, the order reads. The government has set the total revenue target – tax and non tax revenue – at BDT 2,427.5 billion, which is around 12.4% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country, for the fiscal year 2016-17.
Rate of labor wage declines over three years: Report
The rate of labor wage has declined over the past three years compared to the increase in the wholesale rice price despite increased farm production while the rate of poverty decline is not consistent with the rising income inequality, a government report has revealed. The ‘National Food Policy Plan of Action and Country Investment Plan Monitoring Report 2016′ published in June 2016 by Food Planning and Monitoring Unit (FPMU) of the ministry of food said change in national wage expressed in a kilogram of coarse rice of all sectors moderately decreased to 7.85% in 2014/15 from 9.65% in 2013/14 on a three-year moving average basis, because of lesser increase in the three years’ average of general wage index compared to the corresponding increase in the national wholesale rice price index.
Finance nod sought to impose BDT 5.7 billion for Robi-Airtel merger
The telecom ministry has sent recommendations to the finance ministry for approval to impose BDT 5.7 billion in fees and charges on the proposed merger of mobile phone companies Robi and Airtel. According to the recommendations, the government would charge the merged company BDT 5.1 billion for adjusting the price of Airtel’s 2G spectrum and BDT 0.6 billion as share transfer fees, said ministry officials. The ministry recommendations came following a proposal from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission that analyzed different aspect of the proposed merger. ‘Airtel’s 2G spectrum price needs to be adjusted in order to create fair market competition. To avoid any discrimination, we took the 2011 price benchmark while determining the adjusted price,’ a ministry official said. He said that the recommendations also contain provision so that the merged entity can return some spectrum to the government and pay a lesser amount.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$51.53||+0.3||+0.59%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$52.69||+0.18||+0.34%|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||18,005.05||+66.77||+0.37%|
|USD 1||BDT 78.33*|
|GBP 1||BDT 113.60*|
|EUR 1||BDT 89.13*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.18*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.