BB okays manual for issuing new treasury bond
The central bank has approved a manual for the floating rate treasury bond (FRTB), paving the way for issuing such a debt instrument in the country. The government had earlier decided to issue such a bond pursuant to rule-4 of the Public Debt Rules of 1946. The floating rate treasury bond is a debt instrument that pays periodic coupons linked with a specified reference interest rate. The coupon rate changes periodically as the reference rate does. The Bangladesh compounded rate (BCR) is known as reference rate. Individuals and institutional investors, resident or non-resident, will be eligible to purchase and hold the bond
Banks demand slash in interest rates on savings certificates
In an effort to address a liquidity crisis, private banks demanded that the government lower interest rates on savings certificates. Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB), an organization of private bank owners, thinks the move will ease the liquidity crisis and reduce the double-digit lending rate, reports Bangla Tribune. It has already sent a letter to Finance Minister AMA Muhith in this regard. The association leaders are also expected to meet the minister soon to discuss the matter. “We as well as the government are trying to bring down the interest rate to a single digit. We are taking numerous initiatives for the sake of the country’s economy. We want to utilize the money that remains idle in the state-owned banks,” said the association President and Exim Bank Chairman Nazrul Islam Majumder. In order to cut lending rate, private banks managed to get four advantages from the government, but the rates are yet to come down.
Bangladesh Bank sells $25m more to seven banks
The central bank of Bangladesh has sold US$25 million more to seven commercial banks to meet the growing demand for the greenback in the market. Taking to the BBN, a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) said the central bank sold the foreign currency to the banks on Monday at market rate to settle import payment bills. The US dollar was quoted at BDT 83.70 in the inter-bank forex market on the day unchanged from the previous level, according to the market operators. He also said the BB may continue providing such foreign currency support to the banks in line with the market requirement.
Most banks see EPS fall
Some 18 of the 30 listed banks saw their earnings per share (EPS) plummet in the first quarter of the year because of huge provisioning against default loans. One, AB, Al Arafah, City, Dhaka, Eastern, First Security, Islami, Mercantile, National, Prime, Rupali, Shahjalal, Southeast, Standard, Trust and Uttara saw their EPS decline, according to data from the Dhaka Stock Exchange. On the other hand, ICB Islami saw higher losses this quarter. Ten banks though saw their EPS grow. Pubali is yet to announce their EPS. A former deputy governor of the Bangladesh Bank said that the banking sector had to keep huge provisioning in the first quarter as the classified loans are soaring. Those with higher classified loans saw their EPS decline mostly. On the other hand, many banks could not disburse new loans in the first quarter as they have already reached their loan-deposit ratio, so profits were hampered, he added. Huge competition to attract deposits is another reason for the decline in banks’ EPS in the quarter. Banks are offering higher interest on deposits but the lending rate is yet to rise proportionally, so the spread declined this quarter and with it, the EPS. For instance, in March banks’ spread stood at 4.34 percent, in contrast to 4.62 percent a year earlier.
FBCCI for proper banking support to investors
Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) on Tuesday said banking sector should be further modernized as it can provide proper financial supports to the investors for accelerating industrialization. FBCCI said this at a meeting of its Standing Committee relating to the Ministry of Finance (Bank and Financial Institutions Division) held at the FBCCI board room in the city, said a press release here, reports BSS.
LankaBangla signs MoU with LEADS Corporation
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between LankaBangla Securities Limited and LEADS Corporation Limited for design, development and implementation of blockchain and Chatbot applications at LEADS head office in the city recently, according to a statement. Mohammed Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, Managing Director of LankaBangla Securities Limited and Shaikh Wahid, Managing Director and CEO of LEADS Corporation Limited signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organisations.
SIBL signs MoU with Hotel Purbani
Social Islami Bank Limited (SIBL) and Hotel Purbani International Ltd. signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the head office of the bank in the city on Tuesday, according to a statement. In presence of Managing Director of Social Islami Bank Quazi Osman Ali, SEVP & Head of Card Division of the bank Zabed Amin and Managing Director of Hotel Purbani International Mahboobur Rahman Jainal signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations. Under the MoU, SIBL Islamic Debit and Credit Card holders will get up to 30 per cent discount on room booking and 10 per cent discount on foods at the hotel.
NBR seeks govt help to realise VAT, SD arrears from Petrobangla
The revenue board has sought help from the government to realise Tk 212 billion in VAT and SD arrears from Petrobangla, officials said. “It is very urgent to pay outstanding dues for achieving the revenue target,” Chairman of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said in a letter sent to the finance ministry last week.
Padma Bridge Rail Link: Soaring land prices jacking up cost
The cost of the Padma Bridge rail link, the construction of which is yet to start in full swing, has gone up by Tk 4,269 crore due to escalating land acquisition expenditure and delay in project implementation. The original cost of the project was Tk 34,989 crore and now it stands at Tk 39,258 crore, a 12 percent hike.
New customs law unlikely to come into force from next FY
The new customs law is unlikely to come into force from the fiscal year (FY) 2018-19 as the National Board of Revenue (NBR) has yet to complete the process of placing the act before parliament. Officials said the law ministry has not yet given its seal of approval to the draft customs act for placing it before the cabinet for vetting. They said the customs wing is still continuing its all-out efforts to complete all the procedures for placing the act in the parliament budget session for FY 2018-19. However, they have found it difficult to complete the entire task within June 7, 2018. “We first need to obtain approval from the law ministry. Then the draft act would be placed before the cabinet for its approval,” said a senior customs official. After getting approval from the cabinet, the NBR would be able to place the draft act before parliament for nod of the lawmakers, he added.
Govt plans deals on supply of LNG from spot market
The government has prepared the draft of a general master sales agreement (MSA), covering a dozen of global companies, on the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the spot market. The state-run Rupantarita Prakritik Gas Company Ltd (RPGCL) has already sent copies of the MSA draft to the short-listed suppliers for inking deals, individually, said a senior RPGCL official. The official did not disclose the quantity of LNG, to be imported from the spot market through these firms.
Export earnings from shipbuilding hit 457% growth
Export earnings from the thriving shipbuilding industry of Bangladesh has reached a year-on-year growth of 456.88%, in the first half (H1) of the current fiscal year 2017-18 (FY18). This exponential growth was revealed in data posted by the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB). According to the EPB data, Bangladesh exported ships and other floating structures worth $30.35 million between July and December of FY18, compared to $5.45 million earnings during the same period in FY17. According to insiders in the sector, the growing shipbuilding industry of the country has a huge potential, as demand from both the domestic and the international market is increasing faster than ever before.
BPC importing 77,000 tonnes of diesel from India
The government is going to import 77,000 tonnes (578,420 barrels) of diesel from India through rail wagon to meet the domestic demand for a period of May-December this year, reports UNB. According to official sources at the Energy Division, the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) has already completed negotiation with the Indian authorities to this end. Indian state-owned Numaligor Refinery Limited (NRL) will supply the fuel from its Siliguri marketing terminal through 35 wagons. Each wagon will carry 22,000 tonnes of diesel, said the BPC officials. The wagons will reach Parbatipur oil depot in Bangladesh from Siliguri terminal. An Energy Division document, obtained by UNB, reveals that Bangladesh have to spend about Tk 4.10 billion to import the bulk diesel.
Date import increases
Bangladesh imported 42,931 tonnes of dates—a popular iftar item—in the last four months, up 6.32 percent year-on-year thanks to the increasing consumption of the fruit. The eating habit of people has changed in the recent years as health conscious people now consume dates round the year, said Faruq Ahmed, a date importer based in Khatunganj. It was a common trend in the past to see a rise in the demand of the fruit during Ramadan only, Ahmed said. Dates of different varieties with prices ranging from Tk 75 a kilogramme to Tk 2,800 a kg are now found in roadside iftar stalls, retail kitchen markets as well as the super shops. This year, dates have been imported from the highest 17 countries, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Tunisia, Algeria and Palestine.
Robi losses linger
Robi, the country’s second largest mobile operator, failed to register profit for the third consecutive quarter, counting net losses of Tk 103 crore in the first quarter of 2018 despite favourable growth in subscriber base and revenue. In the previous two quarters, Robi logged in losses of Tk 46.90 crore and Tk 134.80 crore respectively. Intense competition on both data and voice pricing caused the losses, said Shahed Alam, executive vice-president and head of regulatory affairs at Robi.
Ispahani top beverage brand: Study
Ispahani continues to be the top beverage brand in Bangladesh, according to a recent study by Kantar Worldpanel, a Spain-based firm that deals in consumer knowledge and insights based on continuous consumer panels. Kantar Worldpanel published its study ‘Brand Footprint 2018’ on May 16, says a press statement. Ispahani dominates the beverage category in Bangladesh while other major brands in this category include 7-UP, Coca-Cola and Brooke Bond.
Bangladesh-Austria sign Air Service Agreement
Bangladesh and Austria have signed Air Service Agreement (ASA) for the first time aiming at operating cargo and passenger flights between the two countries. Bangladesh Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister AKM Shahjahan Kamal and Austrian Transport Minister Norbert Hofer signed the ASA in Vienna on Thursday last, a press release said here today, reports BSS. As per the agreement, the airlines companies of both the countries can operate seven passenger flights and seven cargos flights every week.
Global climate fund seeks legal immunity, tax waiver
A global climate fund supporting the efforts of developing countries seeks enjoying immunity from legal process and other privileges from Bangladesh, officials said. The board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) recently forwarded a draft of an agreement to Bangladesh for signing. The government is scrutinising the document, the officials said. Bangladesh, being one of the worst victims of climate change impacts, has started getting funding from the billion-dollar fund meant for climate-resilient development. The Economic Relations Division (ERD), the national designated authority of GCF in Bangladesh, recently sought opinion on the draft agreement from the ministries such as home, foreign, finance, environment, and the National Board of Revenue (NBR).
Biman faces increasing financial risks
National flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines is at risk of facing an abnormal level of financial crisis because of its increasing debt-to-equity ratio. According to sources from Biman Bangladesh, the airline’s debt-equity ratio has already increased to 4:1 from the average 1.5:1 ratio. There is speculation that the gap might increase further in the future.
35 NRBs to be given Commercially Important Person status
The Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment is all set to award 35 non-resident Bangladeshis with CIP (Commercially Important Person) status for their outstanding contribution to the country’s economy by remitting foreign currencies. The ministry has recently issued a circular publishing the name of 35 individuals, recognizing their contributions to the economy in 2015. Among them, 29 will be awarded for remitting the highest amount of foreign currencies and another six for importing products from Bangladesh.
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)||$ 71.93||↓0.27||↓0.37%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 79.07||↓0.50||↓0.63%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,292.97||↑1.83||↑0.14%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 84.07|
|GBP 1||BDT 112.82|
|EUR 1||BDT 98.89|
|INR 1||BDT 1.24|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.