13 banks overshoot SME lending targets
Thirteen banks have overshot their annual SME loan disbursement targets in just six months in a sign of aggressive lending, which the central bank terms suspicious. They disbursed 105 percent to 242 percent of their annual targets in January-June this year, Bangladesh Bank data shows. “It is good that the banks disbursed a hefty amount of loans to small and medium enterprises,” said a BB official. But the central bank will keep an eye on these banks to see if they showed other credits as SME loans, he said. Exim Bank’s target for the entire year was Tk 5,375 crore but it disbursed Tk 5,666 crore or 105 percent of the target in only six months. Meghna Bank disbursed 200 percent of its annual SME lending target of Tk 265 crore in the period while NCC Bank achieved 242 percent of its target of Tk 900 crore. Trust Bank disbursed 115 percent of the target of Tk 600 crore and NRB Commercial Bank 205 percent of its target of Tk 250 crore. The nine other banks that overshot their targets are Bank Al-Falah, Citibank NA, State Bank of India, Woori Bank, Modhumoti Bank, NRB Bank, City Bank, Bank Asia and Exim Bank.
Q1 current account deficit widens
The country counted a steep current-account deficit worth USD 1791 million (USD 1.71 billion) in the first quarter of this fiscal, resulting mainly from a yawning trade gap. Official figures show during the corresponding period (July-September) of the past fiscal year (FY17) the current-account balance had a modest surplus of USD 539 million. Latest statistics of the country’s balance of payments (BoP), released by the central bank Sunday, also showed that merchandise trade gap with the rest of the world surged to USD 3.65 billion in the period under review. In fact, trade gap jumped by 133% over the same period of the FY17 when it was USD 1.56 billion. Higher growth in imports, around 28.40%, over the single- digit growth in exports, 7.70%, enlarged the trade gap significantly during the period under review.
Low-cost WB funds for entrepreneurs
Bangladeshi entrepreneurs in the power, energy and bridges sectors can access low-cost funds for up to 20 years thanks to a new credit from the World Bank. The funds became available after the government signed two agreements with the Washington based lender involving $457 million yesterday. Of the amount, $357 million will be used to help develop private sector-led infrastructure projects under the Investment Promotion and Financing Facility Project II (IPFF II). The project will build local financial institutions’ capacity to provide long-term funds to private companies to undertake infrastructure projects in sectors such as power and energy, ICT, land ports, roads, and bridges, said a WB statement. “By bringing private sector provision for infrastructure development and expanding exports to sectors where the country has already shown comparative advantages, Bangladesh can create more and better-paid jobs and boost prosperity for its citizens,” said Qimiao Fan, WB’s country director for Bangladesh. Due to limited capacity and market constraints, local financial institutions traditionally could not meet the longer-term financing demand for building infrastructure. Built on the success of an earlier project, the IPFF II will help local financial institutions to lend to private sector infrastructure ventures through the Bangladesh Bank for a longer term of 8 to 20 years, beyond the usual term of 5 to 7 years, according to the statement. The other one—the $100 million Export Competitiveness for Jobs Project—will aim in diversifying exports in labour-intensive and globally competitive industries such as leather goods, footwear, plastics and light engineering.
July-October wheat imports jump by 30.0%
Bangladesh’s wheat imports climbed nearly 30% to more than 2.1 million tons in July-October from a year earlier, food ministry data showed, reports Reuters. Traders are expecting the same pace in the coming months. The South Asian country has emerged as a major buyer of rice and wheat after floods destroyed its latest crops, sending staple rice prices to record highs that prompted many to switch to flour. Bangladesh imported 5.8 million tons of wheat in the year to June 2017.
Government securities can now be traded on Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE)
Capital market investors can now buy and sell government securities through the Dhaka Stock Exchange in a development that is expected to make the country’s bond market more vibrant. The decision came at the quarterly coordination meeting of regulators — Bangladesh Bank, Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission, Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority, Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms, Microcredit Regulatory Authority, Department of Cooperatives and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. At the meeting held yesterday at the central bank headquarters in Dhaka, it was decided that the central bank’s Market Infrastructure Module will be linked with the DSE so that investors can buy and sell government securities through the stock market, according to a BB official. As per a regulation set by the National Board of Revenue, investors will have to count 0.05% tax if they settle any transaction of government securities through the trading platform. So, the BB and the BSEC will jointly request the NBR to withdraw the tax for the sake of making the secondary bond market vibrant, he said. The overall investment in the secondary bond market now stands at about BDT 1.4 trillion, which is poor considering the volume of the country’s private sector.
Sluggish turnover affects government earning from DSE in October
The government revenue earnings from the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) fell 24% month-on-month in October this year on the back of falling trade volumes. Market insiders said sluggish trading activities coupled with low share sales by sponsor-directors affected the government’s revenue earnings from the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) in October. The daily average turnover in October came down to BDT 6.9 billion while daily average turnover was BDT 10.50 billion in September, registering a decline of 34 month-on-month in October, according to statistics from the DSE. The government bagged tax worth BDT 233.0 million in October against BDT 308 million in September 2017, falling more than 24%, according to DSE data. Of the total revenue earning in October, BDT 109.0 million came from the TREC (trading right entitlement certificate) holders’ commission, popularly known as brokerage commission and BDT 76 million came from the share sales by sponsor-directors and placement holders, the DSE data showed. The DSE, on behalf of the government, collects tax as TREC holders’ commission and sponsor-directors and placement holders’ shares sales at the rate of 0.05% and 5.0% respectively and deposits the amount to the government exchequer.
Govt to build 3,600MW LNG-based power plant
Bangladesh is set to get 3,600 megawatts of electricity from a LNG-based power plant at Payra, the largest yet, as part of the government’s efforts to give the economy the impetus needed to meet the growth aspirations. North-West Power Generation Co., an enterprise of Bangladesh Power Development Board, and Siemens yesterday signed a primary agreement for setting up the plant in Patuakhali. The estimated cost for the plant is $2.8 billion, of which $2.4 billion would come as loan and $400 million as equity, according to Power Division documents. But Nasrul Hamid, state minister for power and energy, said the total cost would be $4 billion. Some 20 percent of the plant’s cost will be in equity that will be borne equally by North-West and Siemens. Siemens will mobilise the rest of the funds. This will be the largest investment from Germany or any European country. Power will be brought to the capital through a transmission line, according to the Power Division documents.
BPC moves to borrow USD 700 million from ITFC to import fuel oils
Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC) moves to borrow USD 700 million from International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) to import fuel oils for the calendar year 2018, officials said. The state-owned agency has already sought opinions from the Ministry of Finance about the ITFC loan through the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, they said. The amount of loan and the rate of interest were fixed at the meeting. The tenure of the loan is six months from the date of corresponding disbursement and the rate of interest is 3.8% annually. Letter of Credit (LC) issuance fee was set at 0.20%, the officials added. BPC has asked for the finance ministry’s opinions on the loan immediately to keep its fuel import and supply uninterrupted across the country, a senior power ministry official said.
Robi receives ultimatum for paying huge unpaid VAT
Government’s revenue authority served Sunday five demand notices on telecom-operator Robi Axiata Limited for realising BDT 9.24 billion in unpaid VAT. Officials said the Value Added Tax (VAT) authority issued the time-bound notices as the Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU) under the VAT wing of the revenue board detected the VAT dodging from 2013 to 2016 calendar years. LTU commissioner Md Matiur Rahman sent the demand notices to the mobile-phone company Sunday following a search report from a committee. The unit detected the amount from underpayment and withholding VAT as per its database of the company’s SAP software, merger fees and spectrum charge, interconnection charge and unauthorised VAT rebate. The committee, in its report, alleged VAT evasion worth BDT 5.53 billion on account of less-paid VAT on different services, BDT 1.58 million as less-paid withholding VAT, BDT 910 million merger fees and spectrum charges, BDT 52 million as interconnection charge and BDT 1.16 billion as alleged illegal VAT rebate taken in violation of the rules. The company has shown overseas incoming calls through international gateway (IGW) as export and claimed it as zero-rated export. The company also has shown sales of mobile handsets as tax-exempted sales. In its report the panel said the telecom company merged with Airtel but had yet to pay BDT 910.0 million in VAT to the public exchequer.
Honda investing USD 29.0 million in motorcycle plant
Japanese Honda Motor Co is investing USD 29 million in a new joint venture plant with a target to increase its annual production capacity to 200,000 motorcycles by 2021. Bangladesh Honda Private Ltd (BHL) and the Bangladesh government started construction of the new 25-acre plant inside Abdul Monem Economic Zone (AMEZ) in Munshiganj district yesterday. Honda owns 70.0% of the stakes in BHL while the rest is owned by state-owned Bangladesh Steel Engineering Corporation. Over 350 persons can be employed in the plant, said Shah Muhammad Ashiqur Rahman, head of finance and commercial of BHL. BHL has a production capacity of 80,000 units in its 8,700-square metre Sreepur plant.
Local and Global Stock Indices
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||6072.99||↓ 26.03||↓ 0.43%|
|DJIA||23,539.19||↑ 22.93||↑ 0.10%|
|FTSE100||7,560.35||↑ 5.03||↑ 0.07%|
|Nikkei 225||22,512.18||↓ 26.94||↓ 0.12%|
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$55.80||↑ 0.16||↑ 0.29%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$62.28||↑ 0.21||↑ 0.34%|
|Gold Spot*||1,269.22||↓ 0.69||↓ 0.05%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days
|USD 1||BDT 83.03|
|GBP 1||BDT 108.56|
|EUR 1||BDT 96.41|
|INR 1||BDT 1.28|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.