Savings tools once again trump bank products
Savers have started to flock back to savings instruments with net sales hitting a six-month high in July as bank deposit products continue to yield underwhelming returns. Net sales of savings instruments stood at Tk 5,036 crore in July, the highest since February. In January, net investment in the tools stood at Tk 5,140 crore, after which it ranged between Tk 3,100 crore and Tk 4,200 crore. The Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB), a forum of bank directors, had taken a decision to lower the interest rate on savings and lending to 6 percent and 9 percent respectively from July 1, which lured savers to park their funds with government tools. Some banks, however, have set the interest rate as high as 8 percent on their fixed deposit schemes, going back on their promise because of an acute liquidity crunch. In contrast, the interest rate on savings certificates ranges from 11.04 percent to 11.76 percent. Depositors are not willing to park their funds with banks considering the lower interest rates, which are almost same as the rate of inflation. In recent months, inflation has been hovering around the 5.50 percent-mark. In 2017-18, the government borrowed only Tk 5,666 crore from the banking sector by way of treasury bills and bonds against the annual target of Tk 28,203 crore. The rate of interest on bank borrowings is between 3.10 percent and 8.09 percent. On the other hand, the net sales of savings certificates stood at Tk 46,758 crore last fiscal year against the annual target of Tk 44,000 crore.
Edible oil prices drop
Edible oil prices have fallen in the local market on the back of a price slump fuelled by higher global production and the US-China trade war. Prices of loose soybean oil dropped 3.47 percent to Tk 82-85 a litre yesterday from Tk 85-88 a month ago at retail. Prices of loose palm oil have also declined. Average price of soybean oil fell to $654 per tonne in August from $685 in June this year. Price of palm oil was $534 a tonne in August, down from $580 in June, shows World Bank Commodities Price Data. Average prices of soybean oil and palm oil were $759 and $629 a tonne respectively in the January-March quarter. Bangladesh imported 11 lakh tonnes of soybean from the US out of 13 lakh tonnes in 2017. Importers have recently started buying from Canada. The USDA said US trade opportunities for markets outside of China would rise nearly 130 lakh tonnes in the coming year compared to 2016-17. In contrast, increased purchases of Brazilian soybeans by China would result in an 80 lakh tonnes potential decline of US and other exporters’ trade to China in the same period. Prices of US soybean hover around $310 (free on board) per tonne whereas those of Brazilian ones were $400. The USDA predicts that Bangladesh’s annual consumption of vegetable oil will rise 6 percent year-on-year to 28 lakh tonnes in 2018-19 from that a year ago. Soybean oil import will remain unchanged at 7.80 lakh tonnes in the current fiscal year while palm oil import will increase 10 percent to 16.5 lakh tonnes, the agency projected.
JV to invest Tk 500cr in steel plant
apan’s Nippon Steel has formed a joint venture company with Bangladesh’s McDonald Steel Building Products Ltd to set up an import substitute plant in the Mirsarai Economic Zone in Chattogram. Initially, the two companies have agreed to invest $59.19 million, or nearly Tk 500 crore, to establish the plant. Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) yesterday signed an agreement with the joint venture to lease out 100 acres of land in the economic zone for the plant. The venture plans to sell $13.67 million-worth steel products in the local market every year. Some 20 percent of the total output will be exported to South Asian countries. The Beza has received investment proposals involving more than $12 billion for Mirsarai Economic Zone, he said, adding that the government was ready to provide security to Japanese investors.
Focus needs to be on capital market
Capital market should be the key funding source for Bangladesh’s future economic expansion instead of banks and financial institutions. Such shift is also necessary to attain sustainable development goals (SDGs) as some 42 per cent of the SDG financing here should come from the private sector. Stocks should evolve as the main source of capital for economic expansion. Banks and NBFIs [non-banking financial institutions] together are still a major source of funding for Bangladesh economy. Banks have helped make entrepreneurs and a strong private sector since our liberation, but studies show the accountability scenario is not up to the mark. Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative should play a significant role in this regard and stock exchanges should drive value for all stakeholders. UN Resident Representative in Bangladesh Mia Seppo said mobilising resources for SDGs requires expansion of tax base, tax reforms and public-private partnership. Bringing together the right stakeholders is the number-one challenge of implementing SDGs
Citi wins digital bank awards of Global Finance magazine
Citibank, NA Bangladesh has won Global Finance magazine’s country award for excellence in digital corporate/institutional banking for the 11th consecutive year. Citi won over 30 accolades in Global Finance’s World’s Best Digital Bank Awards 2018. It was named best digital bank in 16 markets – Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The bank also won five sub-category awards — “Best Online Cash Management”, “Best Online Treasury Services”, and “Best in Mobile Banking”, “Best Mobile Banking App and Most Innovative Digital Bank.
Ctg regasified LNG supply rises as RasGas vessel docks
RasGas’s LNG-carrying vessel finally docked at Moheshkhali’s floating LNG (liquefied natural gas) import terminal on Saturday after a three-day struggle due to rough sea. Re-gasified LNG (R-LNG) supply to the port city of Chattogram increased again to around 300 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) from Saturday evening, said a senior Petrobangla official. The second commercial LNG vessel carried around 140,000 cubic metres of LNG to the floating LNG terminal on September 19 and was supposed to dock by September 20 and initiate re-gasifying LNG. Gas supply in Chattogram fell to around 200 mmcfd until Wednesday afternoon and then it dropped to around 100 mmcfd on Thursday and continued until Saturday afternoon, said a senior official of state-run gas Karnaphuli Gas Distribution Company Ltd (KGDCL). Excelerate has been charging fees worth US$ 232,000 daily to Petrobangla since commissioning of its vessel on the Moheshkhali Island in the Bay of Bengal on August 18. KGDCL, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petrobangla, is responsible for supplying natural gas to the port city of Chattogram.
Use software to keep accounts
In a bid to automate the value-added tax system, the revenue authority has ordered businesses clocking more than Tk 5 crore in annual turnover to use software in maintaining accounts and keeping tax-related records. The National Board of Revenue said companies would have to install software meeting criteria it has set and comply with its directive from January 1, 2019 so that businesses can furnish returns and other documents electronically to VAT offices. The NBR has been bringing changes to its VAT software in line with the VAT Act 1991 in order to go online. Software makers whose software is already being used by businesses upon approval from commissioners will now have to update it and apply to the panel by September 30 for examination and listing. The NBR plans to automate the VAT system based on the VAT Act 1991 after businesses opposed the new VAT law framed in 2012. They have already aligned the software with the VAT law of 1991. A demo on this will take place on Wednesday.
Thrust on adequate ICT knowledge for efficient case management
Chief Justice (CJ) Syed Mahmud Hossain has underscored the need for acquiring adequate knowledge on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) through proper training for the sake of efficient case management. An efficient administration can’t be ensured without manpower having enough knowledge on ICT in the era of advanced Information and Communication Technology. There is no alternative to time-befitting and subject-oriented training for the SC staff as it enhances their case management capacity and enables them to perform official duties efficiently.
Move to broaden APTA coverage, membership
APTA member states now plan to turn the trade pact into a comprehensive regional agreement covering trade in goods, services, investment and trade facilitation. The move is likely to be endorsed at a ministerial conference of APTA (Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement) to be held in July next. The 53rd session of the standing committee meeting of APTA, held in South Korea in mid-September, took the decision to transform the pact into a productive one. Presently, the agreement only covers goods and the member countries offer tariff concessions each other for intra-group trade. The member states –Bangladesh, China, India, South Korea, Laos and Sri Lanka — so far offered tariff concessions on 10,677 products as the fourth round negotiations concluded. The fifth round negotiations are likely to set target to reduce and eliminate tariffs on substantially all trade covering at least 80 per cent of total national tariff lines and bilateral import value for the base years 2014-2016. It may also consider adopting zero-for-zero tariff for selected products. As one of the oldest preferential trade agreements between the countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the APTA pact occupies market for 2.921 billion people. The size of APTA market accounted for US$ 14,616 billion in terms of gross domestic product (GDP) in the fiscal year 2015-2016. The main objective of APTA is to hasten economic development among the six states opting for trade-and investment-liberalization measures which will contribute to the intra-regional trade.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|DSEX|| 5,415.24511 || ↓51.81|| ↓0.95%|
|DJIA||26,743.50|| ↑86.52 ||↑0.32%|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 71.59||↑0.80||↑1.14%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 79.82||↑1.02||↑1.29%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 83.8350|
|GBP 1||BDT 109.6478|
|EUR 1||BDT 98.4391|
|INR 1||BDT 1.1576|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.