E-banking Introduced to Protect Expatriate's Interest-PM in Abu Dhabi

Posted by BankInfo on Thu, Jan 20 2011 06:30 am

Prime Minister (PM) Sheikh Hasina said e-banking has been introduced to stop illegal Hundi trade and enabling the expatriate Bangladeshis to send their hard-earned remittances easily. "Effective steps are being taken so that the expatriates can send their hard-earned remittances through private banks side-by-side with state-owned commercial banks, the PM told a civic reception here Tuesday night. Expatriate Bangladeshis hosted the reception in honour of the Prime Minister. Referring to the Prabashi Kalyan Bank, Sheikh Hasina said the bank is being established so that workers can go abroad by taking loan from it.

Prime Minister pointed out, "To go abroad, people would not have to sell their property or land and they can repay their borrowed money by doing jobs abroad,". The PM said separate desk has also been created at the airport for stopping harassment of the expatriates side-by-side with stepping up security. PM Sheikh Hasina said information cells have also been opened at the district level to know the position of expatriate Bangladeshis. Despite global economic recession, the PM said, export earnings of Bangladesh have increased to a great extent, while the expatriates have been contributing a lot in raising remittances. "The government would take steps to ensure the voting rights of the expatriates and provide them with machine readable passports," the PM added.

The PM also stressed the need for taking separate arrangements to solve the housing problems of the expatriates. "All kinds of facilities have been ensured so that Bangladeshi expatriates can invest their hard-earned money in the country, the PM mentioned.

News Source:Financial Express/Bangladesh/20 Jan 2011

ADB Approved $2m for Remittance Project

Posted by BankInfo on Thu, Jan 20 2011 06:09 am

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) board approved a $2 million grant to launch a remittance investment project to provide safe, affordable remittance services to thousands of Bangladeshi migrant workers and their families. The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will be used in the project to fund technology linking micro finance institutions and banks. It will give at least 20,000 rural migrant worker households access to formal remittance services for the first time, ADB said in a statement yesterday.

Mayumi Ozaki, finance specialist (rural and microfinance) for ADB's South Asia Department said, "Currently, many rural migrants and their families are forced to rely on informal remittance outlets which are undocumented and risky,". "This project, using debit cards, points of sale terminals and other innovations will allow people in remote areas to send and receive funds through the formal banking system." The project will fund remittance and financial literacy training and an awareness campaign to provide guidance to returning migrant workers on investment products and employment opportunities.

The objective is to help each household save, or invest, an additional $300 a year, ADB said. The Bangladesh government will contribute $29,000, with banks and microfinance institutions providing nearly $386,000, for a total cost of over $2.4 million. The finance ministry is the executing agency for the project, which will run for three years to 2013.

News Source: The Daily Star/Bangladesh/20 Jan 2011

Share index breaker deployed

Posted by BankInfo on Thu, Jan 20 2011 04:54 am

Stock market tumbled one more time yesterday that counts fifth straight crash in a row. It's been very thwarting for the regulator's efforts of containing volatility and repealing the hope for a calm and confident market. The latest move -- the introduction of circuit-breaker, which halts the market if the index gains or loses more than 225 points -- also turned futile. Trading began two hours late and the plunging stocks halted it within one and a half hours, after hitting the circuit-breaker threshold.

Analysts said the circuit-breaker will not help control the volatility and restore confidence, unless liquidity inflow increases to support fresh buying. "It's not a solution. It's not an effective tool," said Yawer Sayeed, chief executive of AIMS, an asset manager. His remark came after the benchmark DSE General Index (DGEN) lost 226 points or 3.17 percent, amid panic sales. The slump made the investors violent on the streets again. "The result of the circuit-breaker will be nothing but protests, as you have seen today," said Salahuddin Ahmed Khan, former chief executive of Dhaka Stock Exchange. "It's not an effective solution. The circuit-breaker will result in decreased share prices," said Khan. "Such intermediate measures will not bring about effective results."

Stocks lost 660 points on January 11 and a day later, it sprinted up 1,000 points or 15 percent on a stimulus from the regulator. But a freefall returned the next day as liquidity crunch kept institutional investors shy from buying. Many investors entered the market late, inspired by bubbling in share prices in the last one and a half years. Now their hopes of making easy money is shattered by the consistent downfall, as banks that had earlier fed the bubble amid slack regulatory monitoring started liquidating investments ahead of the year-end, and complied with tightened monetary policy of Bangladesh Bank. Khan said the slump brought another problem -- a confidence crunch. "It appears that the market is heading towards a crisis," he said, suggesting increased money flow. "Any intermediate step will not be effective. It will rather deepen the instability."

Hasan Imam, chief executive of Race Asset Management Ltd, said the circuit-breaker is just one tool to manage the volatility. "It must be used carefully because it has some downsides. If the circuit-breaker is not used properly, it may intensify the panic," he said. Imam said the circuit-breaker may not bring stability unless the liquidity crunch is addressed.

News Source: The Daily Star/Bangladesh/20 Jan 2011

Dhaka stocks finish higher amid instability

Posted by BankInfo on Thu, Jan 13 2011 05:24 am

On Wednesday Dhaka stocks rose sharply for the two consecutive sessions after buying spree in financial issues pushed the turnover up amid instability. Market operators said strong buying in banking, non-banking and insurance issues by retail and institutional investors helped maintain the bullish trend on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) with turnover rising significantly. The market opened with a flying start, rising 302 points in just ten minutes, and then followed volatile trading as it shed 124 points before its closure. The benchmark DSE General Index (DGEN) surged by 2.38 per cent or 178.60 points to close at 7690.69, after a record gain of 1012 points or 15 per cent Tuesday.

The broader All Shares Price Index (DSI) moved up by 2.10 per cent or 131.43 points to 6380.79. The DSE-20 Index comprising blue chips was up by 1.15 per cent or 54.86 points to 4828.52. The regulator's market friendly steps helped regain investors' confidence and the buying binge closed the market up, dealers said. "Confidence is being restored among investors. I think the market is going to be stable in the coming days," said Ahmad Rashid Lali, managing director of the Rashid Investment Services. The central bank is set to unveil its half-yearly monetary policy this month, he said, hoping that the policy would give some specific directions with regard to the capital market as it faces liquidity crisis.

Analysts, however, voiced doubt over the sustainability of the Tuesday's "unusual" gains stemming from the regulator's series of interventions. Many of them called it a government intervention and it looked like an artificial spike as it rose more than 15 per cent or 1012 points - the highest one-day spiral. Banking issues, the market's bellwether, continued to flex their muscle and gained 2.38 per cent. Among the notable gainers, non-banking financial institutions 4.21 per cent, general insurance 6.28 per cent and life insurance 6.26 per cent, which helped the market maintain its upward trend.

The other major sectors--fuel and power and pharmaceuticals--lost 0.70 per cent and 0.41 per cent respectively. Turnover sharply rose to Tk 16.50 billion, up by 69.0 per cent over the previous session. The gainers took the strong lead over the losers as out of 246 issues traded, 147 advanced, 94 declined and five remained unchanged. On Tuesday, the DSE general index gained 1,012.65 points or 15.58 per cent to close at 7512.09, just a day after the Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trading of shares after free fall of 660 points within 50 minutes traded Monday.

United Commercial Bank topped Wednesday the turnover list with shares worth Tk 777.96 million changing hands. The other turnover leaders were National Bank, United Airways, Southeast Bank, Bextex, Bay Leasing, AB Bank, Titas Gas, Peoples Leasing and Grameenphone. Saiham Textile was the highest gainer posting a rise of 19.98 per cent followed by Prime Life Insurance, Square Textile, Uttara Finance, Standard Insurance, Karnaphuli Insurance, Federal Insurance, UCBL, Meghna Cement and Asia Pacific Insurance. The day's prominent losers included AIBL First Mutual Fund, Standard Ceramics, Savar Refactories, Meghna Pet, Dulamia Cotton, Chittagong Vegetable, BSC, Hakkani Pulp and Papers, Rupali Bank and Reckitt Benckiser Bangladesh Ltd. Meanwhile, the man blamed for the last year's major stock falloff stepped down from his post at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in a development that could assuage investors' worry, officials said.

SEC chairman Ziaul Haque Khondker told reporters Wednesday that Mr. Alam resigned Tuesday from his post on "personal grounds" and the Finance Ministry accepted his resignation letter. He also said that the authority sent his resignation letter to the Ministry of Establishment Wednesday. His resignation came weeks after controversial personal directive cause a major fall in the share market on December 08 last year. Dhaka Stock Exchange's benchmark DGEN index sank more 6.37 per cent of 547 points in the first 80 minutes of trading on December 8, in a day of extreme volatility that saw market regain most of the losses in late hours to close at minus 1.56 per cent.

The steepest fall sparked wildcat street protests in Dhaka and half a dozen district towns by thousands of retail investors who sniffed conspiracy by a "vested group" in the sudden stocks fall. Investors blamed two SEC orders that barred execution of share buying before cashing of cheques and misuse of netting facilities for the plunge.

News: Financial Express/Bangladesh/13 Jan 2011

BB Chief asks Bankers to be friendly with Farmers

Posted by BankInfo on Mon, Jan 10 2011 09:02 pm

Atiur Rahman, Bangladesh Bank governor, urged all bank executives to change their attitude towards farmers for the sake of agricultural development in the country. Rahman was speaking at a farmers' assembly at Silimpur village in Ishwardi upazila under Pabna district on Sunday after inaugurating a biogas plant in the residence of a local farmer Moyez Uddin.The country's industrial development depends on the progress of the agriculture sector, the governor said.

"Agriculture is the key to economic success here. The real development in economy and industry will be happened if we can ensure the real development in agriculture." "The bankers have to change their mind setup and have to be friendly to the farmers to reach the goal." He also asked the farmers to cooperate with the banks.

Farmer Moyez Uddin chaired the meeting where Shaikh Siraj, a founding member of Channel i, and Sayed Abdul Hamid, Agrani Bank managing director, also spoke.

News Source: The Daily Star/Bangladesh/11 Jan 2011

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