Lobby on to supply LNG as prices slip
Global liquefied natural gas suppliers are lobbying with Bangladesh to ink deals to secure a persistently ‘higher’ price of the fuel for a long time. The LNG suppliers, who have already signed initial deals and memorandums of understanding with state-run Petrobangla, are at the forefront. Indonesia’s Petramina, Malaysia’s Petronas, Brunei’s Brunei LNG, and Switzerland’s AOT Energy AG are among the global LNG suppliers that have already inked MoUs or letters of intent with Petrobangla and awaiting final sales and purchase Agreements. Indian Oil Corp bought a cargo for delivery in the second half of August from commodity trader Trafigura at $3.69 per mmBtu while China National Offshore Oil Corp purchased a cargo for delivery in early September from Vitol at $3.90 per mmBtu. On the contrary, Petrobangla has been importing LNG under long-term deals at prices ranging from $8.5 per mmBtu to $10 per mmBtu over the past one and a half years. Two global suppliers – Qatar’s RasGas and Oman’s Oman Trading International – are currently supplying LNG to Bangladesh. Petrobangla started regular imports of LNG from September 9, 2018. Petrobangla has the option of increasing LNG imports to 1.5 Mtpa or lowering it to 0.9 Mtpa without having to pay the penalties. Petrobangla currently has a preliminary Agreement with AOT Energy AG to import around 1.25 Mtpa of lean LNG for 15 years. It also signed a letter of intent with Indonesia’s Pertamina to import around 1.0 Mtpa of LNG for 10 years.
Funds for Onion Import at 9.0pc interest: BB
The central bank has fixed a flat 9.0-per cent interest rate for financing onion imports to help rein in the soaring prices of the spice in the local market. A circular to this effect was issued on Wednesday, which will remain in force until December 31 this year. Traders sold local onion at Tk 68-72 a kg, Indian at Tk 62-65 and Burmese at Tk 58-60, according to trading sources at Shyambazar, a major onion wholesale hub. It was Tk 92-108 for local, Tk 92-95 for Indian and Tk 80-88 a kg for Burmese varieties there a day before. Market sources attributed this fall in onion prices to increased imports and steps like open market sale of the item to ease the market. On Wednesday, local varieties retailed at Tk 100-110 and Indian onion at Tk 90-95. On Tuesday, Indian and Burmese onion varieties sold at Tk 110-120 a kg. Local varieties sold at Tk 120-130. A total of 3,574 tonnes of onion were imported from Myanmar in September. In July, 84 tonnes were imported. But no onion was imported in August. Crooked traders earlier manipulated the market despite abundant onion supplies. Cox’s Bazar district administration issued a directive on Tuesday, asking traders to sell onions at Tk 70 a kg, but to no avail. Traders were still selling onion at Tk 100 per kg in the district till Wednesday evening. When contacted, Teknaf land port customs super Absar Uddin said onion import from Myanmar is ongoing.
Tk 1,530cr Cash Subsidy for Remitters
The finance ministry has released Tk 1,530 crore in cash subsidies for remitters for the first two quarters of the current fiscal year as part of a government move to encourage remittance through official channels. It has instructed the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) to release Tk 765 crore for the July-September quarter and the same amount for the October-December quarter in favour of the central bank, according to a letter of the finance ministry issued on Monday. In June this year, Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal introduced a 2 percent cash subsidy for remitters to encourage them to send money home through legal channels and mitigate the burden of increased expenses in sending their hard-earned money to their beneficiaries back home. He set aside Tk 3,060 crore for the purpose for the fiscal year. According to the central bank, for amounts of up to $1,500 per transaction, expatriates will receive 2 percent cash incentive directly to their accounts without any verification. For amounts above $1,500 per transaction, sources of income, passport details and other Documents will have to be presented. The inflows in August were $1.44 billion, which climbed up to $1.47 billion the following month – up 28.95 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Bangladesh Bank. The minister said at the current pace, Bangladesh will be able to fetch up to $18 billion to $20 billion in remittance in the current fiscal year. The upward trend in remittance will give some breathing space to the government in defending the exchange rate. The exchange rate of the taka against the US dollar is also favourable for remitters: on September 30, the inter-bank exchange rate was Tk 84.50 per US dollar, up from Tk 83.75 a year earlier. Remittance hit an all-time high of $16.40 billion in fiscal 2018-19. The inflows were 9.47 percent higher than in fiscal 2017-18, according to data from the central bank.
New Director of MTB
Herbert Ludwig Jaeger has recently been appointed as a Director of Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB). Prior to joining MTB, he was an Investment Director of DEG-The German Investment and Development Company, Thailand Representative Office and a Vice President/ Senior Investment Manager of DEG – The German Investment and Development Company, Köln, Germany and Senior Investment Manager of Apatar Radolfzell GmbH, Radolfzell, Germany
Apparel Makers voice concern over ‘Nirapon’ Activities
Apparel makers have raised concern over the activities of recently formed new platform ‘Nirapon’ alleging that it has been creating confusion over safety standards and adding new cost burden in the name of monitoring and training. They also alleged that Nirapon is creating market for service providers, especially for local training provider (LTP) and qualified assessment firm (QAF), which the manufacturers cannot afford after investing huge amount of money in the industry to ensure workplace safety during last five years. The concerns were raised at a views exchange meeting of stakeholders organised by Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) on September 29. Nirapon has been formed this year by 23 brands and retailers, including Walmart, based on North America. Almost all the meeting participants expressed concern over the high cost they have to bear ranging from US$ 400 to $ 12,000 to maintain Nirapon’s prescription. The QAFs’ quoted prices are exorbitantly high which are not affordable. For example, quoted price for a group of five factories was between $ 1.48 million and $ 2.05 million. The proposal also included reducing scope of maintenance audits which will result in a substantial reduction in the scope and fees for BGMEA members.
Senior Executives of SSL and LBFL exchange Documents
Senior Executives of Software Shop Limited (SSL) and LankaBangla Finance Limited (LBFL) exchanged Documents after signing an Agreement on digital payment collection in the capital recently. Under the Agreement, LankaBangla Credit Card Members and Money Builders Deposit Customers can pay their LankaBangla Mastercard and VISA Credit Card bills and DPS installment through web portal.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX||4949.39923|| ↓ 13.03||↓ 0.26|
| ↓ 494.42 ||↓1.86% |
|FTSE100||7,122.54 || ↓ 237.78 ||↓3.23% |
|Nikkei 225|| 21,349.50 || ↓429.11 ||↓1.97%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 52.82 ||↑ 0.18||↑ 0.34%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 57.68 ||↓ 0.01 ||↓ 0.20%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,498.53 ||↓ 0.92||↓ 0.06% |
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 82.6110|
|GBP 1||BDT 101.484|
|EUR 1||BDT 90.3750|
|INR 1||BDT 1.16204|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.<