Bangladesh Bank sells $24m more to three banks
The central bank of Bangladesh has sold US$24 million more to three commercial banks to meet the growing demand for the greenback in the market. “We’ve sold the foreign currency to the banks on Tuesday at market rate to settle import payment bills,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the BBN in Dhaka.
Private credit growth nosedives in April
Private sector credit growth saw a dramatic fall in April as banks put the brakes on their lending activities to adjust their loan-deposit ratio ceiling as per the central bank’s instruction. Last month, credit growth stood at 13.6%, down 4.33% points from the previous month, according to data from the central bank. The growth rate was far below the monetary target of 16.3% set for the second half of the fiscal year — and a stark contrast to the preceding nine months. At the end of April, total outstanding private sector credit stood at BDT 8.81 trillion. The steep fall in credit supply to the private sector was due to the banks not having the available funds to give out loans, said managing director of Bank Asia. The rising interest rate for lending also accounts for the slow credit growth, he said, adding that the chances of the rate coming down in the near future are slim. He went on to state that the supply shortage of credit will affect private sector investment. The high interest will make entrepreneurs reluctant to take on fresh loans, said managing director of Mercantile Bank. Moreover, maintaining the lower loan-deposit ratio will compel private banks to go slow with lending.
Telcom Companies may be allowed in Mobile Financial Services (MFS)
Mobile operators may be allowed to hold a maximum of 49% shares in companies that run mobile financial services, in what can be viewed as a U-turn from the Bangladesh Bank’s previous stance. Along with the banks and non-bank financial institutions, non-governmental organizations, multinational companies, investment firms and fintech companies with experience of working in banking and finance will be allowed to form an MFS provider company, according to the BB’s latest draft regulation. The draft regulation, however, said the MFS providers in the country will be led only by scheduled banks. It is not logical to allow any mobile operator to hold 49% shares in a PSP as the future financial system will largely depend on the mobile phone, said a central bank official. The branch-less banking is now becoming popular and the mobile operators will lead the trend if the latest draft regulation is approved, he said. Another BB official said a haphazard situation might be created in the MFS sector if the central bank approves the draft guidelines. Many disputed issues may emerge and a tussle will be created between the BB and the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, he added.
Country’s Net Foreign Assets (NFA) rises 3.51% in March
The latest statistics of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) shows that the country’s Net Foreign Assets (NFA) registered a 3.51% growth in March. The NFA used to expand at double-digit rates even two years back. According to economists, the fall in the NFA growth is mainly due to the high demand for the USD s in the money market to meet import payments. Bangladesh’s import has been increasing fast, and it was recorded around 26% in terms of opening up of letters of credit (LCs). The economists believe that the central bank’s step to depreciate the local currency (BDT) against the USD may be an effective tool to raise NFA. A former chief economist at BB, said the authorities concerned should analyse further the reasons behind the weak external accounts. The country’s current account deficit is now over USD 7.0 billion. Bangladesh’s weighted average exchange rate between BDT and dollar has been increasing for last eight months. It was BDT 80.80 in September 2017. In December 2017, it was BDT 82.70, and in March 2018, it stood at BDT 82.96. Importers fail to predict the market scenario as a result of such volatile trend in the foreign exchange market. On the other hand, the exporters opined that the increasing trend in dollar rate is helping them to remain competitive in the global market.
Opening of BO accounts below expectation
About 121,386 beneficiary owner (BO) accounts were opened in last nine months, according to a stock market depository service provider. Data available with the Central Depository Bangladesh Limited (CDBL) shows the number of active BO accounts was 2,662,880 as of August 31, 2017. The BO accounts opened in the list nine months pushed up the total number above 2.78 million as of May 29 last. Stock brokers said the rate of opening new BO accounts was not up to the mark in the last nine months. It happened because of the cut in the IPO (initial public offering) quota for general investors, they added. The IPO quota has been reduced in the revised public issue rules. Women own around one-fourth of the total number of BO accounts found active until Tuesday. The number of active BO accounts owned by males is above 2.03 million. Women and companies own 737,043 and 12,242 BO accounts respectively. Most BO accounts of general investors are normally used in applying for IPO shares.
Indicators mismatch GDP growth claim
The estimated GDP growth of 7.65 per cent in the outgoing 2018 financial year comes to be mired in controversy as the government growth rate claim does not match economic indicators in Bangladesh. Economists and experts questioned the estimation and quality of growth saying that such higher growth was not possible with the present rate of investment and job creation.
Bangladesh may surpass India in three years
Per capital income of Bangladesh may surpass the same of India within three years, according to an analysis of the Business Standard on India. According to the report, per capita income (in dollar terms) in Bangladesh is now growing at nearly thrice the pace of income growth in India. At USD 1,355 in 2016, Bangladesh’s per capita income was up 40% in three years against 14% growth in India and 21% growth in Pakistan. At this rate, Bangladesh’s per capita income would top India’s by the year 2020. It also said that a typical Indian has 25% higher income than a Bangladeshi now while in 2011, Indians earned 87% more. Business Standard analysis further added that during 2014 and 2016, Bangladesh’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.9%. At the same time, it was more than double of Indian GDP’s CAGR of 5.6%. Over the same period, Pakistan grew faster than India too, at a CAGR of 8.6%, driven by a surge in investment and export. The Chinese economy expanded at an annualised rate of 5.2% during the period under review.
Reduction in number of VAT rates likely
The government is likely to reduce the existing nine different rates of Value Added Tax (VAT) to six in the budget for fiscal year (FY) 2018-19. It may also revise the existing rate of Advance Trade VAT (ATV) upward by one% point to 5.0%. All imports are subjected to ATV barring a few, including the essential ones. Finance Minister is set to announce these two major changes on June 07 when he unwraps the budget for the next fiscal year. The existing VAT rates above 10% would remain unchanged in the budget. The tax authorities may merge some of the VAT rates that are between 1.5% and 10%. Earlier, Finance Minister had instructed the NBR to explore the possibility of merging the existing VAT rates with two rates. In line with the instruction, the VAT policy wing conducted a detailed analysis on this issue. The wing found the job too difficult to accomplish. Making only two VAT rates may affect the businesses as a number of sectors still deserve the concessional rates of VAT. Tax on tobacco items would increase significantly in the upcoming budget. The government would try to bring down the rates of VAT in phases to ensure the smooth implementation of the new law. In the new VAT law, there is a uniform rate of VAT at 15% on all products and services.
Most ‘fast-track’ power projects miss schedule
The government’s decision to allow installation of 10 oil-fired power plants under ‘fast-track’ programme has failed to achieve the desired objectives. The Power Division under the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MPEMR) in August last year approved setting up of five diesel-fired power plants and five furnace-oil fired power plants in the private sector.
Govt setting up 20 fast-track power plants with 2,935 MW
The government is implementing 20 fast-track Independent Power Producers’ (IPPs) projects having 2,935 megawatt (MW) generation capacity. The rest of the IPP projects with High Speed Diesel (HSD) and Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) plants would come in operation in phases, he said, adding, “Another power plant at Keraniganj, having 100 MW capacity, is set to commence today.” According to the IPPs projects, Summit, the largest (IPP) in the country has completed construction of HFO fueled reciprocating power plant with 300 MW capacity. The Summit Gazipur II Power Limited has begun supplying power to the national grid from 5th May 2018. It was implemented as a fast-track project within nine months, a period that was set by Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) and Power Division of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, it said. Meanwhile, Bangla Trac Limited had completed construction of 100 MW HSD power plants at Nowapara in Jashor and 200 MW at Daudkandi. Besides, Acorn Infrastructure Services is installing 100 MW furnace-oil based power plants. The BPDB has fixed deadline to commence generation on June 30 this year.
Cumilla sub-station to help ease Indian power import
The government has approved installation of a high-voltage sub-station in Cumilla for importing 500-megawatt (mw) power from India’s Tripura. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the sub-station project on Tuesday. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting in Dhaka. Including the sub-station, the 13 projects involve a combined cost of Tk 95.18 billion (9518 crore). Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal told reporters that the ECNEC approved the high-voltage back-to-back sub-station project in Cumilla North for transmitting cross-border power to and from Surjomoninagar of Tripura in India at a cost of Tk 13.42 billion.
Govt to import 500MW of power from Tripura
The government yesterday approved a Tk 1,342-crore project to set up a high-voltage sub-station in Comilla in order to import 500 megawatts of electricity from Tripura, India. The approval came at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the NEC conference room in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar in Dhaka. The Asian Development Bank will provide Tk 1,019.79 crore for the project, the government Tk 252.51 crore and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) Tk 69.96 crore. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the imported power would be passed on to the national grid through the station. Bangladesh will import 500MW from Tripura due to a shortage of power and in future Bangladesh may export power to India through the station when its generation is in the surplus. For this reason, the back-to-back station will be set up to keep the export option open, Kamal added. The transmission line from Tripura to Comilla will be set up entirely with the government funds. PGCB will implement the project between July 2018 and June 2022. Currently, Bangladesh imports 160MW of power from Tripura.
Deposit money duly in RMG central fund
Bangladesh Bank on Tuesday asked all banks to ensure deduction of 0.03% of the encashed export value from the export-oriented readymade garment factories for the RMG sector central fund. The BB issued the instruction as a number of banks refrain from deducting the portion of export value for the central fund. The amount of deposit in the central fund is not satisfactory due to non-collection of the fund by the banks, the BB instruction said. It also asked banks to report to the labour ministry’s central fund director general within seven day after completion of a month on how much money they have deposited in the fund. The labour ministry letter mentioned that as many as 1,336 families of injured or dead labourers of different factories received BDT 263.9 million from the fund since its inception. Labourers of another apparel factory received BDT 1.03 million from the fund as their outstanding salaries, it said. According to the labour rules that came into effect on September 15, 2015, the export-oriented factories must contribute 0.03% of their freight on board prices to the fund while the contributions from the government and the buyers are voluntary. The government started collection at the rate of 0.03% of FoB prices from the RMG factory owners from July 1, 2016 for depositing the money in the central fund.
Sunsilk, Lux, Rin top FMCG brands
Sunsilk shampoo, Lux beauty soap and Rin detergent, all of them manufactured by Unilever, are the most chosen fast-moving consumer goods brands in Bangladesh, according to a new report of Kantar Worldpanel. They were followed by Parachute hair oil of India’s Marico and Unilever’s detergent brand Wheel, said Kantar Worldpanel’s Brand Footprint report, which was published earlier this month. According to the report, only seven brands owned by Bangladeshi companies made it to the list of top 20 FMCG brands preferred by local consumers last year. Tibet ball soap and Fast wash detergent, both owned by Kohinoor Chemical, led the local brands, ranking at 10th and 11th respectively, according to the Barcelona-based company, which monitors and measures shoppers’ behaviour globally and ranks consumers preference to brands.
Biman fleet goes modern
State-run Biman Bangladesh Airlines is being equipped with latest state-of-the-art aircrafts in its fleet although it fails to expand its destination network with opening new routes. The national flag carrier has also failed to bring any new update about reopening of suspended routes due to its alleged management failure. Sources at Biman said that the national carrier is going to bring four first generation aircraft Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner in its fleet. The first one of which will arrive to Bangladesh at the second week of August next. Biman will receive the second Boeing-787-8 Dreamliner in November while the rest two will arrive in November 2019. Biman has been receiving the aircraft under a package deal with Boeing company done in 2008 to purchase 10 aircraft including four 777-300 ER, two 737-800 and four Dreamliner 787 at a cost of $ 2.1 billion. Under the deal, they have received six aircrafts and Dreamliners are on pipeline.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||5,409.7||↓ 7.72||↓ 0.14%|
|DJIA||24,361.45||↓ 391.64||↓ 1.58%|
|FTSE100||7,632.64||↓ 97.64||↓ 1.26%|
|Nikkei 225||21,958.01||↓ 400.42||↓ 1.79%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$66.47||↓ 0.26||↓ 0.39%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$74.94||↓ 0.45||↓ 0.60%|
|Gold Spot||$1,298.83||↑ 0.06||↑ 0.00%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.41|
|GBP 1||BDT 110.55|
|EUR 1||BDT 96.21|
|INR 1||BDT 1.23|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.