69% stocks jump as turnover tops Tk1,000cr again

Turnover at DSE stood at Tk1,122 crore on Thursday

Driven by the buying mode of investors, 69% of Dhaka stocks jumped, while the benchmark index and daily turnover maintained an uptick on Thursday.

A total of 394 stocks traded on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), of which 271 soared, 71 declined, and 52 remained unchanged.

However, the benchmark index, DSEX, increased by 90.65 points, or 0.98%, to 6,213, and turnover rose by 14% to Tk1,122.09 crore – exceeding Tk1,000 crore after a five-day break.

The country’s premier bourse opened higher as investors were active in buying shares and sustained the spirit till the closing bell.

EBL Securities, in its daily market commentary, said the capital bourse witnessed upbeat momentum in the final session of the week as buoyant investors continued their dominance in buying major scrips with positive expectations following favourable corporate earnings declarations for the recently ended quarter.

“Although indices remained flat in the first hour of the session, buyers took control of the trading floor in the subsequent period, prompted by the allure of potential quick gains owing to rebounding optimism across the trading board.”

The report reads that many investors decided to pour fresh funds into equities, adding further strength to the current rallies in sector-specific issues.

On the sectoral front, the engineering sector contributed the most by 19.1% in total turnover, followed by the pharmaceuticals sector by 13.7%, and textile sector stocks by 13.0%.

Most sectors displayed positive returns, out of which travel by 4.3%, ceramics by 4.0%, and services sector by 3.9% exhibited the most positive returns on the bourse.

Acme pesticides topped the gainer list with a gain of 10% to Tk25.3 each, followed by Navana CNG by 10% to Tk29.7 each, and Olympic Accessories by 9.94% to Tk18.8 each.


Source: The Business Standard


বিকালে ইস্টার্ন লুব্রিক্যান্টসের বোর্ড সভা

বিকালে ইস্টার্ন লুব্রিক্যান্টসের বোর্ড সভা

নিজস্ব প্রতিবেদক : শেয়ারবাজারে তালিকাভুক্ত ইস্টার্ন লুব্রিক্যান্টস ব্লেন্ডার্স লিমিটেডের বোর্ড সভা আজ বিকাল ৩টায় অনুষ্ঠিত হবে। সভায় চলতি ২০২৩-২৪ অর্থবছরের দ্বিতীয় প্রান্তিকের (অক্টোবর-ডিসেম্বর) অনিরীক্ষিত আর্থিক প্রতিবেদন প্রকাশ করা হবে। ঢাকা স্টক এক্সচেঞ্জ (ডিএসই) সূত্রে এই তথ্য জানা গেছে।

চলতি ২০২৩-২৪ অর্থবছরে ইস্টার্ন লুব্রিক্যান্টসের প্রথম প্রান্তিকে (জুলাই-সেপ্টেম্বর) শেয়ারপ্রতি আয় (ইপিএস) হয়েছে ২ টাকা ১৭ পয়সা, আগের অর্থবছরের একই প্রান্তিকে যা ছিল ২৩ পয়সা (পুনর্মূল্যায়িত)।

৩০ সেপ্টেম্বর শেষে কোম্পানিটির শেয়ারপ্রতি নিট সম্পদমূল্য (এনএভিপিএস) দাঁড়িয়েছে ১৯০ টাকা ৮০ পয়সায়।

৩০ জুন সমাপ্ত ২০২৩ অর্থবছরে কোম্পানিটি ৬০ শতাংশ ক্যাশ ও ১০ শতাংশ বোনাস ডিভিডেন্ড দিয়েছে। আলোচ্য অর্থবছরে কোম্পানিটির ইপিএস হয়েছে ২১ টাকা ৭৮ পয়সা।



Sonali Aansh allowed to pay 100% stock dividend

The securities regulator has allowed Sonali Aansh Industries, a publicly listed exporter of jute products, to pay a 100% stock dividend to its shareholders for the fiscal 2022-23.

The company will announce the record and annual general meeting dates soon, according to a disclosure on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) website on Tuesday.

Sonali Aansh had paid the same stock dividend for the fiscal 2021-22 as well.

The FY23 stock dividend has been declared from the company’s accumulated profit, Company Secretary Md Habibur Rahman told TBS earlier, adding that this dividend will be used to increase the firm’s paid-up capital.

In FY23, the company’s profit grew 97% year-on-year to Tk2.09 crore and its diluted earnings per share stood at Tk3.86.

Sonali Aansh’s board has decided to revalue all its properties and assets for determining its fair value properly and record it in the company’s books of accounts.

On Tuesday, its shares closed at Tk592 each on the DSE.

Source: The Business Standard

2023: A remarkable year for junk stocks

The factory of the year’s top gainer Khan Brothers is now closed, but the DSE still conducted an inspection due to the unprecedented increase in the company’s share price.

Khan Brothers PP Woven Bags, a non-performing listed firm, seemed destined for no recovery from its consistent losses over the past few years. The price of its shares had remained stagnant at Tk10 each until April 2023.

But in a surprising turn of events, the company’s share price soared rapidly and closed a staggering 676% higher at Tk103.2 on 28 December at the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), compared to the previous year’s close.

Other such companies with weak fundamentals and a history of losses also joined Khan Brothers in the share price jump party, despite showing no signs of business recovery in the near future.

According to an annual review by Shanta Securities, six out of the year’s top ten gainers were non-performing companies’ stocks.

Share prices of these companies soared between 96% and 237% throughout 2023, whereas fundamentally sound stocks stayed stuck at the floor price—a regulatory measure to prevent free fall in share prices.

RN Spinning posted a 237% yearly jump in share price, Khulna Printing’s stock soared 236%, FAR Chemical’s 166%, Fine Foods’ 124%, and Crystal Insurance’s 111%.

On the other hand, Sea Pearl Beach Resorts led the loser table of the DSE, witnessing a 46% decline and emerging as the worst performer during the year. Other notable stocks with highest price corrections included Metro Spinning, Rahim Textile, Orion Infusion, Sonargaon Textile, and BD Thai Food, all experiencing losses of over 30% in share prices.

Market insiders noted that, despite regulatory efforts, the bearish market witnessed an uninterrupted surge in the share prices of these speculative stocks. Even under regulatory scrutiny, these firms’ share prices continued to climb.

The factory of the year’s top gainer Khan Brothers is now closed, but the DSE still conducted an inspection due to the unprecedented increase in the company’s share price.

Another junk stock, Khulna Printing & Packaging Limited that is a concern of the Lockpur Group, also saw abnormal surge in its share price. Its owner SM Amzad Hossain, who is also the former chairman of South Bangla Agriculture and Commerce (SBAC) Bank, escaped the country in 2021 even after the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) imposed a travel ban because of his misappropriation of funds.

He returned in October this year and since then, Khulna Printing’s share price has been skyrocketing despite the company being non-operational for the last three years.

The DSE carried out an inspection in Khulna Printing as well in order to find the reasons behind its share price increase.

In its market review for 2023, EBL Securities highlighted that the continuation of the floor price mechanism negatively impacted liquidity and fund flow into the market. Approximately 60% of the total market capitalisation remained stuck at the floor price, contributing to illiquidity throughout the year.

The overall investment appetite remained subdued due to a bleak macroeconomic environment, with investor participation concentrated on specific speculative stocks driven by the expectation of quick gains, the review reads.

EBL Securities further noted that investors predominantly focused on short-term gains, hesitating to take long-term positions in equities due to wavering confidence in the market’s momentum.

EBL Securities hopeful for a turnaround in 2024

The capital market is poised for a turnaround in 2024, shedding the sluggish performance of the preceding years.

The brokerage firm anticipates that the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) may consider withdrawing the floor price mechanism in 2024.

While an immediate correction in the equity market is expected following the withdrawal, the market is projected to bounce back, and overall market turnover is anticipated to significantly improve as unlocked funds become available for reinvestment.

The prime index, DSEX, may initially dip to as low as 5,500 points if the floor price is withdrawn. But it shall eventually exceed 6,500 points. However, the index is likely to fall short of 7,000 points unless heightened investors’ participation and enthusiasm can be achieved, EBL Securities stated.


Source: The Business Standard


Institutional investors demand return of Tk43cr stuck in Asiatic Lab’s IPO subscription

Richard de Rosario, president of the DSE Brokers Association, told TBS, “Institutional investors have been suffering losses after their deposits got stuck in Asiatic’s account following the suspension of the company’s IPO. If the investors had that money they would invest it in the capital market, benefitting both themselves and the capital market, but now they cannot do that.”

Institutional investors who bid for Asiatic Laboratories’ initial public offering (IPO) shares through book-building method have demanded their deposits back as the subscription process has been held up by the securities regulator since January this year.

The securities regulator suspended the subscription process after receiving a complaint that the company overstated in fixed assets.

Around Tk43.18 crore of 92 institutional investors who participated in the bidding is stuck in a Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) account for around a year, said sources.

An institutional investor is a company or organisation that invests money on behalf of other people. They include asset management companies, brokerage houses, merchant banks, etc.

The DSE Brokers Association of Bangladesh – a platform of trading right entitlement certificate (TREC) holders of the premier bourse – sent letters in this regard to the Dhaka Stock Exchange and the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) last month.

The auction to determine the cut-off price of Asiatic Laboratories’ shares was held in October 2022. Institutional investors deposited money to the DSE’s account to participate in the bidding process at that time. The DSE then transferred the money to Asiatic’s account. The securities regulator suspended the company’s IPO subscription process in January this year.

Richard de Rosario, president of the DSE Brokers Association, told TBS, “Institutional investors have been suffering losses after their deposits got stuck in Asiatic’s account following the suspension of the company’s IPO. If the investors had that money they would invest it in the capital market, benefitting both themselves and the capital market, but now they cannot do that.”

“The BSEC has held up the IPO subscription, but a final decision should be taken on the matter. Due to the downturn in the capital market, institutional investors are desperate to get their money back,” he added.

In the book-building method, institutional investors participate in the bidding process for IPO shares by depositing money to the DSE’s bank account.  The DSE keeps the money of the bidders who get share allotment and return the other bidders’ money.

The investors’ money then is transferred to the company’s bank account. The company can start spending it in the areas stipulated in its prospectus after its stock market listing.

Why the IPO subscription was held up

On 15 January, the BSEC held up the electronic subscription of Asiatic Laboratories’ IPO shares until further notice.

The decision was taken due to some complaints against Asiatic Laboratories, the gravest of which were regarding overstatement of the company’s fixed assets, and dispute over its ownership.

The securities regulator has formed an enquiry committee to look into the matters, but they have not made a decision regarding its IPO.

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has found that Asiatic Laboratories overstated the value of its properties. Market insiders said the pharmaceutical company did that in an attempt to obtain better prices for its shares.

The council submitted its findings to the commission.

In August last year, the securities regulator allowed Asiatic Laboratories – a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products – to raise Tk95 crore through IPO under the book-building method.

The company said in its IPO prospectus that it will use the fund to begin producing anti-cancer drugs.

Of the Tk95 crore, it will use Tk58.05 crore to buy and install machinery, Tk6.26 crore to build a factory, and Tk28 crore to repay bank loans.

Earlier, in a bidding through the electronic subscription system by the institutional investors, the cut-off price of the company’s shares was determined at Tk50 each.

The general investors will get the shares at Tk20 each as per the BSEC rules.

Source: The Business Standard


Bangladesh’s average import tariffs higher than in most countries

Bangladesh’s average import tariffs higher than in most countries

Bangladesh’s average nominal tariffs are higher than in low-income, middle-income and high-income countries, as well as most of its comparators, said an economist yesterday.

Such a high tariff on imported items raises relative profitability for domestic market-oriented industries compared to exports, discourages production for overseas markets, and acts as a major barrier to export diversification, said Zaidi Sattar, chairman of the Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh (PRI).

He made the remarks while presenting a paper at a seminar on “Tariff protection and export diversification are not mutually exclusive: The Bangladesh phenomenon” organised by the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) at its conference room in the capital.

The nominal tariff is 27.6 percent in Bangladesh.

It is 22.4 percent in Sri Lanka, 18.1 percent in India, 9.7 percent in Thailand, 9.6 percent in Vietnam, 5.6 percent in Malaysia, and 8 percent in Indonesia.

“Tariffs are now the principal instrument of protection, an incentive to import-substitute production,” Sattar said.

The economist described higher tariffs as a critical requirement for sustaining so-called infant industries without regard to their period of establishment or the efficiency implication of long-term protection.

Sattar said almost all consumer goods produced domestically reap the benefit of extremely high and differentiated levels of nominal and effective protection.

The effective rates of protection for most import-substitute industries could range from 100 percent to 400 percent or more, he said.

Anti-export bias is also one of the bottlenecks for export diversification, according to Sattar.

He said Bangladesh exports 1,377 non-readymade garment products. Of them, 174 products are highly competitive, 408 items are moderately competitive and 795 are marginally competitive.

The country ships 346 types of non-RMG products that earn around $1 million annually, but the segments do not get the bonded warehouse facility, which allows exporters to import raw materials duty-free.

“These products can play a significant role in accelerating export diversification if they are brought under the bonded warehouse facility,” he said, adding that products made by jute, leather goods and home textile industries are largely competitive in the world market.

“Non-RMG exporters can compete in the world market purely on the basis of labour cost advantage.”

He said the National Tariff Policy 2023 has opened the door for export diversification.

According to the PRI chief, the focus of the policy will be on import taxes such as customs duty, regulatory duty and supplementary duty, which are not “trade neutral”.

The value-added tax, the advance income tax and the advance VAT are considered trade neutral and are not under the purview of the trade policy, he said.

The economist pointed out that export diversification is not getting traction despite two decades of policy focus on “thrust sectors”, “high priority sectors”, and “special development sectors”.

Salehuddin Ahmed, a former governor of the Bangladesh Bank, stressed cash incentives and other benefits like the bonded warehouse facility to increase export diversification.

He, however, added that the National Tariff Policy alone will not be effective in giving a boost to export diversification.

Ferdaus Ara Begum, chief executive officer of the Business Initiative Leading Development, said there are a number of sectors that have the potential to contribute more to export diversification, but they don’t enjoy the bonded warehouse facility.

She called for extending the facility to them instead of giving incentives.

BIDS Director General Binayak Sen chaired the seminar.

Source: The Daily Star


VAT collection registers 17pc growth in FY’23 despite adversities

Collection of value-added tax (VAT) grew by 17 per cent last fiscal year (FY) despite multiple challenges on both external and domestic trade fronts.

Though the government adopted austerity measures amid adverse economic situations, and the revenue board missed a substantial amount of VAT against some projects, desperate drives by the VAT wing of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) facilitated the collection, according to a statement issued on Thursday.

It said the manufacturing industries too faced a blow in spite of opening letters of credit (LCs) and importing raw materials due to the increase in utility bills that hampered the natural pace of the manufacturing sector.

The VAT wing collected Tk 1.25 trillion in FY ’23 which is Tk 170.04 billion more than that of the previous year.

It has collected 92 per cent of the FY’s ambitious target of Tk 1.36 trillion which is marked as ‘outstanding’ as per Annual Performance Agreement of the Ministry of Finance.

VAT collection grew by 18 per cent alone in the month of June, 2023 alone.

In FY 2021-22, the NBR had achieved 11.19 per cent growth in VAT collection.

The NBR has collected Tk 1.25 trillion VAT in the last FY against Tk 1.08 trillion in the previous FY.

Of the amount, the VAT wing mobilised Tk 156.14 billion revenue in the month of June alone.

Dhaka South, Khulna and Chattogram achieved the highest growth among the 12 VAT zones across the country.

Chattogram VAT zone achieved 38.71 per cent growth, followed by Khulna 24.71 per cent and Dhaka South 19.89 per cent.

Large Taxpayers unit (LTU) has collected the highest VAT worth Tk 585.66 billion among the zones.

NBR officials said it’s an outstanding achievement of the VAT wing in this adverse economic situation thanks to intensified monitoring by the field offices, relentless efforts by VAT officials, updating input-output coefficient of businesses and measures to check VAT evasion.

The NBR has collected Tk 30 billion more in taxes from tobacco users while achieving 11 per cent growth in VAT collection from mobile phone users.

VAT collection from MS Rod increased by 58.46 per cent, beverages by 31.19 per cent, cement 33.72 per cent, rentals of commercial space by 20.11 per cent.

From Petrobangla and Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation (BPC), VAT collection grew by 21.68 per cent and 23.43 per cent respectively.

From the sale of sweetmeat, the NBR achieved 38 per cent growth while residential hotels 39 per cent, restaurants 16.78 per cent.

Though VAT rates for restaurants have been reduced to 5.0 per cent from 15 per cent, the NBR collected 16.78 per cent higher VAT from the businesses as the officials were active to check evasion.

Source: The Financial Express


Cenbank keeps printing money amid inflation worries

Infographic: TBS

Infographic: TBS

The central bank continues to utilise a potentially inflation-fuelling tool – lending money to the government by printing it – as Bangladesh continues to grapple with high inflationary pressure, the extent of which has been declining in many countries.

The latest data from the Bangladesh Bank reveals that in the first 18 days of July, the central bank injected Tk10,800 crore into circulation to meet the government’s expenditure needs. This surge in high-powered money comes in response to a revenue shortfall – around Tk45,000 crore – from the target and lower-than-expected foreign funds.

Significant increase in money injection

Comparing this year’s data with that of the immediate past fiscal year, it becomes evident that the amount of money injection has increased significantly. In FY23, the government borrowed Tk1,24,122 crore from the banking system, with Tk78,140 crore provided by the central bank, averaging Tk6,500 crore per month. Even in June, the last month of FY23, the central bank provided the government with Tk6,529 crore.

In contrast, during the first 18 days of the current fiscal year, the central bank has already provided Tk6,074 crore through 91-day and 364-day Treasury Bills, and an additional Tk4,715 crore through 2, 5, and 10-Year Treasury Bonds.

This process of devolving undertaken by the Bangladesh Bank involves the central bank buying treasury bills and bonds from the government instead of raising funds from commercial banks by selling treasury bills and bonds.

In FY24, the government planned to borrow Tk1,32,395 crore from the banking sector and Tk1,02,490 crore from external sources. If the government borrows from the central bank by devolvement, it means an injection of fresh money into the economy.

Crucial for cenbank to monitor financial mechanism

Economists said it is crucial for the central bank to monitor and manage these financial mechanisms carefully to mitigate the risk of exacerbating inflationary pressures in the economy.

Commenting on the central bank’s devolvement strategy, Ahsan H Mansur, the executive director of the Policy Research Institute, said it aims to keep the interest rate of treasury bills down. He also pointed out that the new landing rate formula acts as a cap, as the base rate of treasury bills is not market-based.

According to a senior official from the central bank, the Six Months Moving Average interest rate of 182-day Treasury bills (SMART) is now used as the lending rate. Also, the central bank will announce a new lending rate every month starting in July by adding a maximum of 3% with SMART.

The Bangladesh Bank aims to maintain a neutral determination process for SMART. As a result, devolvement is not being done for the 182-day Treasury Bill in July, the official said.

The official further explained that due to the immaturity of the market for the country’s bills and bonds, leaving the determination of interest rates up to the market could grant commercial banks more influence over the rates.

Another senior official of the central bank, on condition of anonymity, said, “The interest rate is being somewhat controlled through devolvement. However, as the government needs to borrow from these sources, banks are demanding higher interest rates. Therefore, the central bank is using devolvement to keep the interest rate slightly down.”

He also mentioned that the interest rate of Treasury Bills and Bonds increased slightly in July compared to June.

Borrowing from commercial banks can cause liquidity crisis

Zahid Hussain, former lead economist at the World Bank’s Dhaka office, called money printing the opposite approach to controlling inflation.

“It is not the right time to comment on how the inflationary pressure will increase in the entire financial year due to the printing of money at the beginning of FY24. However, the government is on the same course at the beginning of the new financial year as it was in FY23. Nothing has changed here,” he said.

Borrowing money from commercial banks can lead to a liquidity crisis, Zahid said, “Borrowing from banks reduces the available money supply for lending to the private sector and this will create a crisis for businessmen. From that point of view, it is relatively easy to borrow from the central bank. Although the pressure of inflation increases on the consumers due to the borrowing.”

The huge circulation of new money caused the reserve money growth to surge to 10% this June, up from negative 0.3% in the same period last year. However, it was far lower compared to the monetary target of 14% set for the monetary policy of FY23. Though the central bank set no target for reserve money growth for the first six months of FY24, as they are trying to control the money circulation by interest rates.

The low reserve money growth is due to the central bank having withdrawn Tk1.41 lakh crore from the market by selling $13.58 billion in FY23.

According to the central bank data, net domestic asset growth was 16.17% year-on-year in May this year when net foreign asset growth was negative 15.28%.

The high growth in domestic assets is because the Bangladesh Bank is creating new money against government treasury bills and bonds, which will trigger inflation. While the negative growth of foreign assets is due to the massive dollar selling pressure which means the country is losing its capacity for foreign payment.

‘Inflationary pressure may increase’

Ahsan H Mansur of The Policy Research Institute said, “The inflationary pressure in the economy may increase due to devolvement. If Tk1 lakh crore is injected into the economy, it is transformed into Tk5 lakh crore, but it does not happen in a day. Devolvement that is being done now may take six months to 2-3 years to see its inflationary impact. That is, we will see in future the full impact of the amount of money printed in the last year to give loans to the government. People must bear the inflationary pressure due to this.”
The economist also advised the government to reduce unnecessary expenses.

‘Blame is convenient’

Sadiq Ahmed, vice chairman of the Policy Research Institute, said, “Bangladesh’s inflation continued to rise throughout FY2023 even as the global inflation rate fell sharply. Countries like the USA, Canada, EU, India, Thailand and Vietnam all experienced substantial declines in domestic inflation rates in the first half of 2023.  But it was still high at 9.74% in June in Bangladesh.”

“So, blaming the Russia-Ukraine war and global inflation for domestic inflation is politically convenient but not factually true,” Ahmed said.

He said countries that saw sharp declines in domestic inflation benefited from the reduction in global energy prices, but they also took sustained demand reduction measures through targeted increases in the domestic interest rates.

Since Bangladesh did not reduce demand and instead pushed demand growth through interest control and higher fiscal deficit, it did not experience a reduction in inflation despite the reductions in global energy prices and global inflation, Sadiq Ahmed added.


Imports of cement clinker, stones soar amidst construction boom

In contrast to a slump in imports, especially luxury goods, due to import curbs amid the prevailing dollar crisis, there has been a 5% rise in the import of cement clinker through Chattogram port during fiscal 2022-23, maintaining its position as the leading imported commodity.

Apart from cement clinker, broken or crushed stones – an essential material used in the construction sector – registered an impressive 80% increase in ports in the past fiscal year, according to Chattogram Customs House.

Industry insiders attribute this growth in imports of these items to the flourishing construction industry in the country and the government’s extensive infrastructure development projects.

Also on the list of import goods which saw an uptick in import in FY23 is high-speed diesel, which is normally used as a fuel in medium and high-speed compression ignition engines in commercial vehicles, stationary diesel engines, locomotives, pumps, etc.

Data obtained from Chattogram Customs House indicates that the import of cement clinker rose by 7.74 lakh tonnes to reach 1.77 crore tonnes in FY23, resulting in a revenue increase of Tk381 crore for the country’s premier customs station.

Broken or crushed stones and high-speed diesel imports saw an upsurge of 53.6 lakh tonnes and 11.8 lakh tonnes, respectively, in the previous year. Revenue collections from these two products also rose significantly, amounting to Tk626 crore and Tk2,949 crore, respectively.

Zahir Uddin Ahmed, vice president of the Bangladesh Cement Manufacturers Association and managing director of Confidence Cement, however, said the import of cement clinker has been less compared to the demand due to the dollar crisis. Had the situation been normal, the import of clinker would have been higher, he added.

“The infrastructure development of the country is constantly increasing. Mega development projects are being implemented. Therefore, the import of cement clinker is increasing every year.”

Demand for cement clinker increases 7%-8% annually, thanks to a burgeoning construction sector and implementation of government mega projects in the country, he added.

Customs data show that the other four products that made into the list of the five highest imported goods in terms of volume in FY23 besides cement clinker are broken or crushed stones (1.22 crore tonnes), slag sand (51.27 lakh tonnes), high-speed diesel oil (45.44 lakh tonnes), and coal (42.26 lakh tonnes).

Meanwhile, the five import goods which yielded the highest revenue in the last fiscal year are high-speed diesel oil with Tk6,762 crore, other fuel oils Tk4,184 crore, cement clinker Tk2,740 crore, broken or crushed stones Tk1,312 crore, and petroleum oil with Tk1,132 crore.

In terms of quantity, the top five products imported through Chittagong port in fiscal 2021-22 were cement clinker (1.69 crore tonnes), VAT-registered manufactured raw materials (1 crore tonnes), broken or crushed stones (69 lakh tonnes), ferrous waste and scrap (49.8 lakh tonnes), and other fuel oil furnace oil (45.6 lakh tonnes).

Regarding revenue, the top five products in FY22 were other fuel oil and furnace oil (Tk5,728 crore), high-speed diesel oil (Tk3,814 crore), cement clinker (Tk2,353 crore), hot rolled (Tk1,242 crore), and palm oil (Tk1,203 crore), according to Chattogram customs.

It is worth mentioning that cement clinker was also the most imported product in FY21, with 1.88 crore tonnes being imported through Chattogram port. This was followed by broken or crushed stones (93.72 lakh tonnes), manufactured raw materials (58 lakh tonnes), natural gas (57 lakh tonnes), and slag sand (45.5 lakh tonnes).

In FY21, the highest revenue-generating products were high-speed diesel oil (Tk3889 crore), other fuel oil furnace oil (Tk2,703 crore), natural gas (Tk2,400 crore), cement clinker (Tk2,282 crore), and palm oil (Tk1,068 crore).

Chattogram port handles approximately 92% of the country’s import and export trade. Chattogram Customs House is responsible for the customs clearance of goods arriving through Chittagong Port.

Additionally, goods are imported through various land ports, including Mongla Port, Payra Port, and Dhaka Airport. These goods are cleared through the respective customs houses or customs stations associated with each port.

According to data from the National Board of Revenue, apart from Chattogram port, cement clinker is also imported through other ports.

In the January-June period of 2023, 1,144.86 tonnes of imported cement clinker, valued at Tk7,481.4 crore, were released through Chattogram Customs House, Mongla Customs House, Dhaka Customs House, and Dhaka Bond Commissionerate.

In 2022, total 2,328.17 crore tonnes of cement clinker worth Tk13,407 crore were imported through these customs stations.


DSE mobile app users to be charged monthly from now on

Infograph: TBS

Infograph: TBS

Starting from this month, each new user of the DSE Mobile — the real-time trading app of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) — has to pay a service charge of Tk125, including VAT and tax, per month.

For the ones who are already using the app, the service charge will be applicable from 1 January 2024.

The Dhaka bourse took this decision in a board meeting and informed all Trading Right Entitlement Certificate (TREC) holder companies through a letter on 12 July.

The DSE’s Acting Managing Director M Shaifur Rahman Mazumdar told The Business Standard, from now on, investors will have to pay a monthly charge for using the DSE mobile app. Those who are currently using the app have been given time to subscribe by paying the charges.

“We have already upgraded the service of the DSE mobile app and increased the maximum capacity to three lakh users from one lakh for giving better service to the investors. We will resume the new connections from this month,” he added.

Currently, the DSE has to pay the vendor company $1 every month against each user, whereas it was charging investors nothing for the sake of promoting modern trading. On the other hand, due to a dull market, the exchange was not earning much from operations to offset its costs.

At the end of last year, 77,103 investors traded shares worth Tk30,000 crore – 12.83% of the DSE total turnover – by using the app.

For almost a year, stockbrokers have remained deprived of new connections for the app. Reason, the backwardness of the premier bourse’s IT department.

The trading app, which was launched in 2016, made stock trading from smartphones fun for tech savvy investors. The DSE, before the pandemic, had allocated almost all of its one lakh connections among brokerage houses based on their needs and usages. The brokers then allocated these connections among their clients.

After the pandemic, the new brokers, who bought brokerage licenses without a membership or shares of the premier bourse, were suffering even more as they got no connection at all to let their clients use the trading app.

Meanwhile, some of the top tier brokerage firms which built their own trading apps and system platforms, spending gigantic sums out of pocket, were in an advantageous position in client hunting as their smaller competitors were unable to make a Tk5-15 crore investment for proprietary apps.

For instance, LankaBangla Securities, City Brokerage invested a lot and their clients from any corner of the world were trading Dhaka stocks. Also, Shanta Securities, Sheltech Brokerage and a few others are testing their own apps.

In a smart move, over a dozen firms, including some largest ones like EBL Securities, have formed a consortium to build a common proprietary trading app out of shared investments.

Some brokers said the premier bourse had underestimated the demand for the trading app, and its slower pace in capacity enhancement was also because of the cost DSE incurred for every connection.

The IT department had long been a serious weakness for the DSE. In 2022, the bourse suffered several technical glitches that halted trading for hours.

The chief technology officer had been removed consequentially, while its then managing director, having an IT expertise, resigned following a tussle with his board.

Later, the oldest bourse of the country made an IT professor of the University of Dhaka its chairman with a hope for some improvement.