Most banks post moderate earnings in Q3
Most banks have reported moderate earnings in the third quarter of the current year thanks to higher incomes from share market investments and credit growth. Of the 30 listed with Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), 19 banks made healthy earnings per share (EPS) compared to that in the same period last year. Four earned marginal returns while five saw a fall. Only ICB Islamic and AB reported negative earnings. EPS is the portion of a company’s profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock, meaning it is an indicator of the company’s profitability. Banks made good profits this year compared to the preceding one due to rising credit demand for business expansion in the private sector, said MA Halim Chowdhury, managing director of Pubali Bank. Share price hikes in recent months also contributed to it with banks profiting from stock investment because of a bullish market, the chief executive said. Pubali Bank made a net profit of Tk 38 crore in the July-September quarter compared to Tk 30 crore in the same period last year. Meanwhile, its EPS improved to Tk 0.40 from Tk 0.32.
Private sector credit demand buoyant
Private sector credit growth stood at 17.8 percent in September in continuation of the high growth registered in the last few months due to increased demand for credit from the business community. Although the growth in September was 0.04 percentage points lower than a month earlier, the figure is still well above the target of 16.2 percent set in the monetary policy for the first half of the fiscal year. Private sector credit growth hit a 58-month high in August: 17.84 percent. The banks have recently observed a spike in applications for large-scale loans to implement infrastructure projects initiated by both the private and public sectors. The business community has recently shunned the go-slow policy to set up new plants or expand the existing ones, which has made the private sector vibrant, said Mamun-Ur-Rashid, managing director of Standard Bank. Last month, Standard Bank sanctioned fresh loans amounting to Tk 200 crore and plans to give the green light to another Tk 150 crore worth of loan applications this month.
Customers of six banks can now tranfser funds online
Customers of six banks — Bank Asia, Standard Chartered, Bangladesh Commerce Bank, City, Dutch-Bangla and Midland – can now send funds among themselves through online banking. Previously, customers could transfer funds through the platform to another account of the same bank. The six banks have initially signed up for the fund transfer facility through the National Payment Switch Bangladesh, but more banks are in the process of doing so. The new platform was inaugurated by Bangladesh Bank Deputy Governor SM Moniruzzaman at an event yesterday at the central bank headquarters in the capital. Thanks to the facility, customers can now pay their credit card bills and make their monthly instalments of deposit pension schemes, loans and insurance premiums from the comforts of one’s homes. A client can make a maximum of five transactions amounting to Tk 2 lakh a day; the single transaction limit is Tk 50,000. Customers will be informed about the transactions instantly through SMS alert service.
Pension payments double following retirement reforms
Pension payments have more than doubled in two years following a recast of retirement-benefit reckonings, making public exchequer bear higher “contingent liability”. People familiar with the matter told the FE that the ageing population and an increase in the number of pensioners will continue to create a greater burden for the government. The government paid over BDT 146.67 billion, equivalent to more than 8.0% of the revenue budget, in the last financial year (FY) to June 30 last on account of pension. And this was 0.75% of the GDP in the last FY, 2016-17. The government payments for pension in the financial year 2016 amounted to BDT 102.84 billion. But it was only BDT 71.29 billion in the financial year 2015. The government relaxed eligibility criterion to five years to 25 years. Earlier, it was ten to 25 years of services in government jobs. The rate of pension has now been extended to 90% from the previous 80%, according to CAG’s latest documents.
Bangladesh Bank (BB) lowers interest rate further for long-term private sector loans
Bangladesh Bank on Wednesday lowered further the interest rate for long-term financing to the private sector entrepreneurs under the World Bank-funded financial sector support project. The BB issued a circular to the managing directors and chief executive officers of all banks saying that from now on the entrepreneurs would be allowed to take loans from banks at a maximum interest rate of LIBOR plus 3% instead of existing rate of LIBOR plus 3.5%. Besides, lowest interest rate for taking loans from the fund has been revised to LIBOR plus 2% from existing LIBOR plus 2.50%. On November 13 last year, the central bank deduced the interest rate from LIBOR plus 4% to LIBOR plus 3.5%. The central bank under the auspices of International Development Association of the World Bank provided USD 254 million through FSSP to meet the growing demand for long-term financing in the productive sectors of the country.
BB maintains firm stance against digital hundi
Bangladesh Bank (BB) continues to maintain its strict position to stop digital hundi in order to enhance remittance inflow through mobile financial service, such as mobile banking. “The inflow of remittance increased by 35.83 per cent or US$306 million from the amount in the previous month (September 2017),” said BB Executive Director and Deputy Head of the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) M Mizanur Rahman Jodder. He said this at a meeting with mobile financial service provider organisations at BB headquarters in the city, said a press release. BB General Manager and Operation Head of BFIU M Zakir Hossain presided over the meeting. Mobile financial service provider organisations and high officials of BB’s concern department were also present at the meeting. Speakers at the meeting urged the mobile financial service provider organisations to submit reports of their activities before BFIU regularly.
BD implements 41pc of global TF measures
Bangladesh has so far implemented around 41 per cent of the 31 common global trade facilitation (TF) measures to reduce trade cost. The revelation was made public on Wednesday in a report on the Second Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade, jointly conducted by five United Nations Regional Commissions. The report shows that 15 per cent of the implemented measures are formalities-related, followed by 9.70 per cent transparency-related, 8.60 per cent paperless trade, 5.38 per cent related to institutional arrangement and cooperation, and 2.15 per cent involving cross-border paperless trade. The country is far behind in implementation of the trade facilitation measures in South Asia. Of the regional competitors, India (72 per cent), Pakistan (63per cent), Sri Lanka (49 per cent) and Maldives (45 per cent) are ahead of Bangladesh. The global average implementation rate of the set of 31 common trade facilitation measures stands at 59.6 per cent, according to the report released by the UN. Trade facilitation generally means simplification and harmonisation of export, import and transit procedures, including paperless trade or the exchange of data and trade documents, electronically to support the process of trade and transaction.
Banks lack skills to tackle data centre damage
A research based on a survey of 27 banks has found 80 percent of them are devoid of the skilled manpower required to tackle damage to data centres from disasters such as cyber attacks and fires. Moreover, 45 percent of them lacked disaster management funds, said Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, adding that banks have to ensure alternative measures to protect online banking during disasters or accidents. Addressing a workshop in the Bangladesh Institute of Bank Management (BIBM) auditorium in the capital’s Mirpur yesterday, he asked banks to comprehensively comply with the central bank’s guidelines on the alternatives. The BIBM organised the event titled “Diseaster recovery management in online banks: challenge and remedial measures” to make public the research report. Of the 27 banks surveyed, 20 are private, two state-owned, two specialised and three foreign. The survey found that online banking was fast gaining popularity in the era of information technology but was facing 11 challenges. Helal Ahmed Chowdhury, supernumerary professor of the BIBM, suggested that banks train their branch managers on IT-related bank businesses.
Naser Ezaz Bijoy, new CEO of StanChart Bangladesh
Naser Ezaz Bijoy has recently been appointed as CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Bangladesh with effect from November 7. Prior to the appointment, he was the head for global banking, the bank said in a statement yesterday. Abrar A Anwar, the outgoing CEO, has taken the charge of Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia as CEO. Bijoy has been serving the bank for more than 24 years and has held a number of roles in corporate banking, risk and audit in Asia, Middle East and Africa. He also worked closely with the central banks in Bangladesh, the UAE, Mauritius and Vietnam, and as a key member of Bangladesh Bank Focus Group on preparing the framework on credit risk management for banks in Bangladesh.
New vice chairman for SIBL
Belal Ahmed has recently been elected vice chairman and chairman of the executive committee of Social Islami Bank Ltd (SIBL), the bank said in a statement. Ahmed is also the vice chairman of NRB Global Bank. He is the managing director of Unitex Spinning Ltd, Unitex Composite Mills Ltd, Unitex LP Gas Ltd, Unitex Petroleum Ltd, Unitex Cement Ltd and Unitex Steel Mills Ltd of Unitex Group. He was one of the directors of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
BD focuses on $1b trade with Vietnam
Bangladesh Ambassador to Vietnam Samina Naz has met Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and emphasised taking bilateral trade to US$ 1 billion by tapping newer potentials that the two countries may offer to each other. The Ambassador briefed the Vietnamese Prime Minister on the present status of bilateral relations that the two countries enjoy. Offering Vietnam to import pharmaceutical and ceramic items alongside other items, the envoy said Vietnam can help Bangladesh in the fields of agriculture, aquaculture and infrastructure materials (clinkers) supply. Newer cooperation in the fields of telecommunications, IT sectors, and more strengthening relations in the fields of culture, sports and education can also be nurtured, she said. On behalf of Sheikh Hasina, she invited the Prime Minister of Vietnam to visit Bangladesh on a convenient time next year. A UNB report said the Vietnamese Prime Minister welcomed the new Bangladesh envoy and assured her of all possible cooperation and assistance from his office in deliberation of her tour of duty in Vietnam. On the situation faced by Bangladesh on Rohingya issue, the Ambassador brought attention of the Prime Minister to support Bangladesh on its efforts to see the forcibly displaced more than six hundred thousand persons be repatriated to their homeland – Myanmar. She requested the Prime Minister to join the UN efforts and support Bangladesh to bring this crisis to a resolve. In reply, the Vietnamese Prime Minister said Vietnam is very much concerned and understands the difficulties being faced by Ban/gladesh.
Bangladesh to get $457m loan from WB
Bangladesh is set to receive a total of US$457 loan from the World Bank (WB) for implementing two projects regarding trade and business. To this end, two separate agreements will be signed with WB on Sunday, says a BSS report citing an official release. Economic Relations Division (ERD) Secretary Kazi Shofiqul Azam and WB Country Director Qimiao Fan will sign the agreements on behalf of their respective sides at the ERD building in the city. WB will give $100 million for the “Export Competitiveness for Jobs Project” and $357 million for “Investment Promotion and Financing Facility II (IPFF-II) Project”. The WB’s Board of Executive Directors approved the Export Competitiveness for Jobs Project in June this year to help the country diversify export and create better jobs in targeted sectors. IPFF -II is aiming to increase long-term financing for infrastructure and to build capacity of the local financial institutions for promoting private sector-led infrastructure financing.
Japan jacks up lending rate to Bangladesh
The much-cherished softest lending by Japan is all over as the donor has hiked the interest rate to 1.0 per cent from 0.01 per cent for Bangladesh, officials said. The Asian economic powerhouse has also reduced the loan-repayment period to 30 years from its earlier tenure of 40 years, they said Friday. Highly placed sources said Japan early last month informed the Government of Bangladesh that they would be charging 1.0 per cent interest on its Official Development Assistance (ODA) from October 16, 2017. In addition, the Japanese donor agency has proposed to charge front-end fee and insurance premium on its loans, which will make its credits much costlier, one official told the FE, requesting anonymity. In addition, Bangladesh’s largest bilateral donor also informed that it would review its interest rate every six months, the official added. The Embassy of Japan in Dhaka has recently written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Bangladesh about the revised terms and conditions tagged with its loans to Bangladesh. A top government official told the FE that Japan will now no more be the softest development partner of Bangladesh upon changing the terms and conditions for its loans.
Non-compliant firms to be removed from RJSC list
The Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC) is set to update its list of companies, asking businesses that have not submitted annual returns for 10 years to comply. As per rules, companies are required to submit profit and loss accounts, balance sheets, summary of directors and shareholders and shareholder position every year. But about 15,000 companies out of 1.55 lakh submit returns yearly, making it difficult for policymakers to determine the actual number of entities still running. Of those registered, 40,000-50,000 might have gone out of operation, according to RJSC officials. “From last week we have started writing to companies that have not been submitting returns for 10 years. If they do not comply, we will strike off the names of the companies,” said Md Mosharraf Hossain, registrar of the joint stock companies and firms. Officials said they would initially issue letters to companies for compliance. If there is no response, another letter will be issued warning that their names would be removed from the register. Later, gazette notifications will be issued and the RJSC will wait for another three months for a response. If companies do not respond and explain the reason behind their non-compliance, their names will be removed from the register, according to the rules. The RJSC move comes following the scope it created online for businesses to get clearance for their names, become registered and submit returns online.
Garment exports to US in slow lane
Garment shipment to the US, Bangladesh’s single largest export destination, grew only 3.41 percent in the first quarter of the fiscal year in a worrying development for exporters who hope to hit $50 billion in receipts by 2020. In the first quarter of 2017-18, apparel shipments fetched $1.36 billion, according to the Export Promotion Bureau. Garment export from Bangladesh to the US has not been growing much in recent months as other countries like India, Vietnam, Pakistan and even Mexico are gaining ground in the market. Thanks to the emergence of India, Bangladesh is now the sixth biggest apparel exporter to the US, down from fourth spot even a few months ago, according to data from the US Department of Commerce. The neighbouring country’s garment sector is fast becoming a formidable opponent for Bangladesh on the global stage thanks to the Indian government’s stimulus package of Rs 60 billion, or $894 million. Bangladeshi exporters are handicapped by infrastructural challenges, due to which goods cannot be delivered to the retailers at quickest time, which the other countries can, said AK Azad, chairman of Ha Meem Group, a leading garment exporter. After the Indian government gave the stimulus package for the garment sector and devalued its currency, the prices of apparel items of both Bangladesh and India are almost equal, although the labour cost in India is higher than in Bangladesh, Azad said.
Can Bangladesh tap into China’s declining share in RMG export?
As China’s relative share of global Readymade Garment (RMG) exports start to drop thanks to rising standards of living there, a number of nations are queuing up to grab the opportunity. As the second largest RMG exporter in the world, Bangladesh is naturally a front runner in this race. However, the country faces stiff competition from South Asian and South East Asian neighbours. Add to that, Bangladesh is yet to systematically address its weaknesses in creating a congenial business and investment atmosphere. According to the World Trade Statistical Review 2017 of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Bangladesh’s share in global RMG market went up from 5.9% in 2015, to 6.4% in 2016. On the other hand, China’s market has dipped from 39.3% to 36.4% in 2015. According to a World Bank study titled Stitches to Riches? : Apparel Employment, Trade, and Economic Development in South Asia, a 1% apparel price increase in China would create 1.36% additional demand for Bangladeshi products on its largest export market, the USA.
Army may get new metro rail project
Bangladesh Army is likely to be engaged in a new metro rail development project in the city’s corridor as per a recommendation made in 20-year transport plan. Though the Army has no experience in implementing or developing the mass transit system, sources said, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) approved a proposal for engagement of the armed forces members in the project last month. They said a Bangladeshi private company has already submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges (MoRTB) and showed interest to work on mass rapid transit line-2 (MRT-2) along with Army. According to 20-year Revised Strategic Transport Plan, five MRTs and two Bus Rapid Transit Lines will be developed in the city by 2035 to ease traffic congestion. Of them, MRT 1, 5 and 6 are in progress with the support of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Sources said engagement of Army in the proposed MRT-2 project will help speed up the process of its implementation. The private company also proposed that the MoRTB issue a request to engage Army in the MRT-2 project on deposition. Special Works Organisation (SWO), engineering wing of Bangladesh Army, has so far been engaged in a number of projects including consultancy and construction work by the government.
Joint venture to set up LNG-based power plants at $4b
A joint venture of Germany’s Siemens and a state-run Bangladeshi company is going to set up LNG-based power plants in Patuakhali to produce 3,600 megawatts of electricity at an investment of more than $4 billion. North-West Power Generation Co Ltd, an enterprise of Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB), will sign a primary agreement with Siemens to this effect in Dhaka today, energy ministry officials said yesterday. Twenty percent of the plant’s cost will be in equity that will be borne equally by North-West and Siemens. Siemens will moilise the rest of the funds, said State Minister for Energy Nasrul Hamid. “This will be the single largest German investment in Bangla-desh,” he told The Daily Star. Three LNG-based power units will be set up under the joint venture, according to a source at the BPDB. The first one will go into operation in 2021. The government has taken an initiative to import a huge amount of LNG from next year. Both land-based and floating LNG terminals will be set up. Japanese firm Tokyo Gas Engineering Solutions Corpora-tion has been appointed as a consultant to carry out the feasibility study for setting up the land-based terminals.
Govt offers exclusive economic zone to Australian investors
Dhaka has offered an exclusive economic zone to Australian investors as the country is increasingly becoming an important trading partner of Bangladesh, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday. Bangladesh has already made similar offers to countries such as India, China and Japan as the country’s economic relations with these countries are growing. Similarly, the significance of Australia in Bangladesh’s international trade is growing. Australia is already an important trading partner of Bangladesh. Bangladesh exported goods worth $658.15 million to Australia and imported goods valued $683.90 million last fiscal year, according to a commerce ministry statement. Garments are the main export items while other products that are performing strong in Australian markets include ceramics, pharmaceuticals and leather goods.
Infozillion gets BTRC consent for MNP licence
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has decided to issue the much-awaited mobile number portability licence to Infozillion BD-Teletech Consortium Limited. Infozillion BD, a Bangladeshi entity, and Teletech d.o.o, a Slovenian company, have formed the consortium to get the MNP service operator licence. MNP service will allow the mobile phone users to change operator without changing their existing number by paying Tk 30 as charge for the service. The decision of the commission came from the telecom regulator’s latest meeting after getting endorsement from the Prime Minister’s Office, a BTRC official told New Age last Thursday. He said that the commission had already issued a letter in this regard to Infozillion BD-Teletec Consortium. The BTRC letter issued on October 31 asked the entity to pay Tk 11.6 crore as licence fees including value added tax within 30 days. It also asked the entity to inform the BTRC about the formation of a full-fledged consortium in line with the MNP licencing guidelines.
Bhutan’s limestone powder may get DFQF market access to Bangladesh
Bhutan may get duty-free and quota-free market access for limestone powder export to Bangladesh, officials of the National Board of Revenue said. They said that the revenue board might declare the decision of offering the facility to the Himalayan kingdom at the third Bangladesh-Bhutan joint group of customs meeting to be held in Thimphu of Bhutan. The three-day meeting is set to begin tomorrow aiming at expanding bilateral trade between the two countries through easing border trade procedures and removing different barriers related to trade. At the meeting, Bangladesh will request the Himalayan kingdom to increase its import particularly of pharmaceuticals, readymade garment, ceramics, jute and allied products, leather goods, toiletries and agricultural products from the country to narrow the existing large trade gap which is heavily in favour of Bhutan. NBR member for customs modernisation and international trade Khondaker Aminur Rahman will lead the Bangladesh delegation, comprised of officials of revenue board, foreign and commerce ministries, at the meeting. There will be a business conference to be jointly organised by Bangladesh embassy in Thimphu and Bhutan Chamber of Commerce Industry on November 7 on enhancing bilateral trade and investment between the two Asian countries.
Local and Global Stock Indices
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||6,099.02||↑ 26.69||↑ 0.44%|
|DJIA||23,539.19||↑ 22.93||↑ 0.10%|
|FTSE100||7,560.35||↑ 5.03||↑ 0.07%|
|Nikkei 225||22,539.12||↑ 119.04||↑ 0.53%|
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$55.64||↑ 1.1||↑ 2.02%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$62.07||↑ 1.45||↑ 2.39%|
|Gold Spot*||1,269.91||↓ 6.22||↓ 0.49%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
|USD 1||BDT 83.03|
|GBP 1||BDT 108.58|
|EUR 1||BDT 96.38|
|INR 1||BDT 1.29|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.