Farm loan release crosses annual target in 11 months
Country’s banks crossed their annual target of farm loan disbursement in 11 months (July-May) of this fiscal year against a backdrop of a decreased credit demand from the industrial sector that forced them to disburse loans more to farmers at an interest rate of 10 per cent.Besides, the interest rates on consumer loans offered by the banks have recently dropped to the range of 8 per cent to 11 per cent because of dull business situation in the country that has made the banks focus on the farm loan disbursement.The banks distributed Tk 18,935.57 crore in farm loans in the July-May period of FY 2016-17, which is 107.89 per cent of their annual farm loan disbursement target of Tk 17,550 crore, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data.The banks have been lowering the interest rates for their almost all products in recent times as they are grappling with surplus liquidity amid dull business situation in the country, a BB official told New Age on Thursday.The BB data showed that farm loan disbursement also posted a 22.62-per cent growth in the 11 months of this fiscal year compared with that in the same period of FY16.The BB official said that the banks earlier used to invest their idle money in the treasury bills and bonds, but the scope had recently been squeezed.
Primary teachers’ pay cheques bounce before Eid
The cheques of the teachers have bounced over the last three to four days. Many of those cheques had incorrect adviceMany primary schoolteachers have failed to withdraw their salary for June before the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays, as errors were made in the advice when the pay cheques were written.Sources at Sonali Bank told the Bangla Tribune that even those teachers who were able to collect their salaries with the flawed cheques by Thursday had already been instructed to return the amount to the bank.Pinky, an assistant teacher of Mohammadpur Shaheen Government Primary School, said she was able to collect her salary for June on Thursday morning, but around noon the bank had contacted her by phone and asked her to return the money.An officer concerned of Sonali Bank’s Mohammadpur branch told the Bangla Tribune: “We were not able to dispense salaries to the teachers as we could not get clearance from Bangladesh Bank (BB).”BB Executive Director Subhankar Saha confirmed that they were unable to give clearance as they had detected errors in a large number of the government cheques.
Foreign currency reserves hit $33b
Foreign currency reserves have shot past the $33 billion mark for the first time in history but it might not bring much cheer for the government as the growth has slowed.On June 21, the reserves stood at $33.02 billion. A year back it was $29.87 billion, according to Bangladesh Bank data. Reserves are expected to rise — albeit at a more moderate pace than previously estimated — underpinned by export earnings, foreign direct investment and external borrowing, said International Monetary Fund this month.IMF says reserves capable of meeting 3.1 (floating exchange rate) to 9.6 (fixed exchange rate) months of imports are adequate for low-income countries.“Therefore, with the de facto fixed exchange rate, a reserve coverage close to top end of the range would seem appropriate,” it said in its latest report on Bangladesh.The present amount is enough to foot nine months’ import bill at the current growth of foreign purchase, says the IMF.
WB okays $47.50m credit for Ctg metro
The World Bank (WB) has approved US$47.50 million in aid to improve water, sanitation, and drainage infrastructures in Chittagong, which is affected by recurrent weather adversities.As per announcement by the global lending agency, the main objective of the assistance is to help about 650,000 inhabitants of the country’s port city gain access to safe and reliable water.This additional financing to the Chittagong Water Supply Improvement and Sanitation Project will help the Chittagong Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (CWASA) continue to build water-treatment plant, transmission and distribution networks and improve water-distribution infrastructure, as well as prepare sanitation and drainage master plans for the city, says a WB statement.
Import-export thru’ BLP suspended for nine days
Import and export activities will remain suspended for nine days from on Friday through the Burimari Land Port under Patgram upazila in Lalmonirhat district on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr. Deputy director of the BLP authority Monirul Islam told reporters that the activities of the land port will resume from July 2 next. However, movements of the valid visa holders will remain normal at the BLP during the vacation, sources said.
PPP cos to enjoy 10-year tax break
Companies engaged in implementation of public-private partnership (PPP) projects will enjoy 10-year tax holiday on their incomes from 14 sources from July 01.The National Board of Revenue (NBR) also offered tax-benefits along with the tax-holiday facility to the companies thatwould implement infrastructure projects under certain categories.The income-tax wing of the NBR issued Wednesday three separate statutory regulatory orders (SROs) to this effect. The companies will enjoy the tax-break benefits on the incomes derived from PPP projects from the date of commercial operation.
BSEC to extend timeframe on getting strategic investors
The securities regulator has asked the bourses to prioritize management experience and technical efficiency in case of selecting strategic investors for demutualized exchanges. As per the demutualization scheme approved by the securities regulator on September 26, 2013, the stock exchanges will have to sell 25.0% stakes to one or more strategic investors. The exchanges’ shareholders primarily got 40.0% of their stakes along with receiving TREC (trading rights entitlement certificate) certificates. The remaining 60.0% of the shares were transferred to a block account and kept for the TREC holders, strategic investors and individuals. Among the 60.0% stakes, one or more foreign strategic partners will be able to purchase 25.0% and local institutional investors and individuals will be able to purchase the remaining 35.0% stakes.
Imports rise by 5.94% in May on Ramadan food items
Import payments in May increased by 5.94% year-on-year due to a rise in payment of bills for the food products imported to meet the demand for the items in Ramadan, fasting month for the Muslims, that began on May 28. According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, the total import bill payments stood at USD 3.6 billion in May this year, while the figure was USD 3.38 billion in the same month of 2016. The imports of back-to-back LC products (fabrics, accessories and other materials) for the garment sector and chemical products increased to USD 592.6 million and USD 195.4 million respectively in May, 2017 from USD 581.39 million and USD 121.8 million in May last year. The BB data showed that the opening of letters of credit, also known as actual import orders, posted a 17.0% growth in May this year from that in the same month of 2016. In May this year, LCs worth USD 4.02 billion were opened by banks against LCs worth USD 3.4 billion opened in the same month of 2016.
Forex reserve rises to record high of USD 33.0 billion
The country’s foreign exchange (forex) reserve crossed the USD 33.0 billion-mark for the first time on Thursday following higher inflow of remittance ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr festival, officials said. The forex reserve rose to USD 33.0 billion on the day, setting a new record, from USD 32.9 billion of the previous working day, according to the central bank’s latest statistics. Receiving USD 46.0 million fund from World Bank recently has also contributed to raise the forex reserve, according to a senior official of Bangladesh Bank (BB). Bangladesh received USD 724.46 million as remittance between June 1 and June 16 from the expatriates working abroad, according to the BB latest statistics. In May, the remittance inflow was USD 1.3 billion.
New slab of excise duty on bank accounts likely
The government is set to incorporate a new slab of the excise duty on bank account balance for small savers following widespread criticism over a proposed hike in the budget for the fiscal year (FY) 2017-18. The excise duty may be fixed at BDT 150.0 for bank account balance, whether debit or credit, above BDT 0.1 million and BDT 0.5 million for the next FY. In the proposed budget, the excise duty has been increased to BDT 800 for bank balance above BDT 0.1 million. However, the duty would be deducted once a year if the account balance exceeds BDT 0.1 million any time of that year. Currently, bank account balance of up to BDT 20,000 is exempted from the excise duty. As per the proposed budget, the excise duty would be BDT 12,000 instead of BDT 7,500 for bank account balance between BDT 10.0 million and BDT 50.0 million while BDT 25,000 instead of BDT 15,000 if bank account balance exceeds BDT 50.0 million.
Farm loan release crosses annual target in 11 months
Country’s banks crossed their annual target of farm loan disbursement in 11 months (July-May) of this fiscal year against a backdrop of a decreased credit demand from the industrial sector that forced them to disburse loans more to farmers at an interest rate of 10.0%. The banks distributed BDT 189.4 billion in farm loans in the July-May period of FY 2016-17, which is 107.9% of their annual farm loan disbursement target of BDT 175.5 billion, according to the latest Bangladesh Bank data. The BB data showed that farm loan disbursement also posted a 22.6% growth in the 11 months of this fiscal year compared with that in the same period of FY16. In July-May of FY17, the eight state-owned commercial and specialised banks — Sonali, Janata, Agrani, Rupali, BASIC, BDBL, Bangladesh Krishi Bank and Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank — together disbursed BDT 91.4 billion in agriculture loans. The amount is 98.38% of their annual farm loan disbursement target of BDT 92.9 billion. The private and foreign commercial banks together disbursed BDT 98.0 billion in agriculture loans in the 11 months of FY17. The amount is 118.6% of their annual farm loan disbursement target of BDT 82.6 billion.
Call money rate rises slightly on Eid pressure
The call money rate crept up to 4.0% this week, after hovering between 2.0% and 3.0% for two years, on the back of a cash withdrawal pressure in the lead-up to Eid-ul-Fitr. The call money rate is the rate at which short-term funds are borrowed and lent in the money market by banks. Instead of injecting money, the central bank has to mop up excess liquidity — ahead of the biggest festival in the country. The central bank is now mopping up BDT 30.0 billion to BDT 50.0 billion every day from the market through bills ahead of Eid. Though private sector credit grew 16.2% in April this year, it did not help banks bring down their excess liquidity. The net sales of different savings instruments in the first ten months of fiscal 2016-17 stood at BDT 420.0 billion against the government’s target of BDT 196.1 billion for the whole year. Accordingly, the government raised its borrowing target from savings tools to more than BDT 450.0 billion in the revised budget.
PPP companies to enjoy 10-year tax break
Companies engaged in implementation of public-private partnership (PPP) projects will enjoy 10-year tax holiday on their incomes from 14 sources from July 01. The companies will enjoy the tax-break benefits on the incomes derived from PPP projects from the date of commercial operation. The companies will be able to enjoy tax-benefit on capital gains derived from transfer of share capital raised for operation of any PPP project in the first 10 years of commercial operation. According to the SROs, foreign technicians in the PPP projects will enjoy income-tax waiver at the rate of 50.0% of total applicable tax for three years of his/her appointment. Some 45 PPP projects are in the pipeline currently.
Government finalizes deal on import of Qatar LNG
Bangladesh has finalized a government-to-government negotiation with Qatar’s RasGas to import around 2.5 million tons of lean LNG annually for over 15 years, starting from early 2018, said officials. An initial agreement with RasGas is expected to be inked early July when a delegation from the company will be visiting Dhaka, state-run Petrobangla’s chairman Abul Mansur Md Faizullah told the FE. the quantity of LNG to be imported from RasGas is only one-third of our total LNG handling capacity of around 7.5 million tonnes per year to be readied in 2018 through two floating, storage and re-gasification units (FSRU) now being developed by two separate entities. Petrobangla has already requested for a subsidy of USD 1.4 billion, around 77.8% of the total estimated cost, from the government to foot the LNG import bill for 2018. The country’s first LNG import terminal, a 3.8 million metric ton-a-year floating storage and re-gasification unit (FSRU) being developed by US-based Excelerate Energy, is expected to be commissioned in April 2018.
Apparel makers aim USD 1.0 billion from Japan despite dip
Shipments to Japan declined 3.7% to USD 945.5 million in the first 11 months of 2016-17 because of a fall in prices of goods and security concerns following the Holey Artisan attack in Dhaka last year, according to exporters. Though the earnings fell 16.09% short of the Export Promotion Bureau’s periodic target of USD 1.12 billion, exporters hope to cross the USD 1.0 billion mark by the end of the fiscal year, an achievement already made in the EU, the US and Canadian markets. Exports to Japan have been soaring over the last few years maintaining nearly 20.0% growth every year. Currently, Bangladesh’s annual export earnings from other Asian countries such as China and India hovers around USD 700.0 million each. During the July-May period, Bangladesh exported garment goods worth USD 696.32 million to Japan, according to data from the EPB. Of this, USD 374.38 million came from woven items and USD 321.94 million from knitwear.
Local and Global Stock Indices
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$44.09||↓0.15||↓0.34%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$46.57||↓0.08||↓0.17%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
|USD 1||BDT 80.83*|
|GBP 1||BDT 103.61*|
|EUR 1||BDT 91.73*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.25*|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.