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persisting liquidity crisis. If the negative 
trend continues into March (and there 
is no sign it won’t), given the liquidity 
crisis, then the index risks entering major 
correction territory. Although Bangladesh 
Bank deferred the enforcement of lowering 
of the advance to deposit ratio (through 
an announcement in late February) from 
June 30, 2018, to December 31, 2018, 
this had little if any positive impact on 
the stock market or the money market for 
that matter thus far. It is just deferring the 
inevitable impact on stocks, perhaps by a 
few weeks.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into 
Bangladesh declined by 13.5% to US 
$2.02 billion in 2017 from US $2.33 
billion in 2016, according to provisional 
Bangladesh Bank data released in February 
2018. However, even though according to 
the United Nations Conference on Trade 
and Development (UNCTAD) World 
Investment Report, the net FDI inflow into 
Bangladesh was US $2.33 billion in 2016, 
the central bank recently lowered the net 
FDI inflow figure for 2016 to US $1.88 
billion after it revised the amount down 
for the July-December period of 2016. 
The majority of FDI into the country 
is reinvested earnings in the first place. 
This signals the fact that Bangladesh has 
yet to achieve major FDI inflows for its 
investment scenario, despite the envious 
success of competitor countries like 

 

Vietnam and Myanmar in attracting FDI. 
This is so despite Bangladesh claiming to 
have one of the best investment policies 
for attracting FDI, a further testament to 
what exists on paper not being transformed 
into reality in this country. 

However, there is also the saying that all 
is well that ends well. Some of the news 
headlines on the last day of February 2018 
were not very appealing or palatable for 
a national of Bangladesh. One read that 

according to opinion survey of the World 
Economic Forum, the roads of Bangladesh 
rank among the worst in Asia, with only 
Nepal reported to have worse roads than 
Bangladesh. While Bangladesh was 
ranked 113 in the world, Nepal was ranked 
118; India and Pakistan were ranked 51st 
and 77th in the world, respectively. Given 
that the Road Transport and Highways 
Division of the Ministry of Road Transport 
and Bridges (the erstwhile Ministry of 
Communications) of the Government of 
Bangladesh receives one of the highest 
allocations in the budget, this is not good 
news.

Nepal, also a least developed country 
(LDC) that has requested that it's 
graduation from LDC status be temporarily 
suspended, is a mountainous country, and 
road communications in Nepal is not the 
easiest to prepare or maintain, all the more 
so in the aftermath of the devastating 
2015 earthquake. Bangladesh is a riverine 
country, but unlike Nepal, most of the 
country is flat, and thus the road network 
in this country does not face the same 
challenges faced in Nepal. Bhutan despite 
it's terrain, was ranked 80th in the world. 
Not surprisingly, Singapore has the best 

roads in Asia and the second best roads in 
the world, according to the same survey, 
with Japan closely following.

According to another piece of news that 
found it's ways into the newspapers on 
the last day of February (2018), the US 
Treasury Department had added the 
name of a Bangladeshi organization 
to it's list of terrorist organizations for 
sanctioning. The name of the Bangladeshi 
organization blacklisted by the US 
Treasury Department was not surprising: 
ISIS of Bangladesh, an organization that 
the Government of Bangladesh does not 
even admit to be existing, even though it 
had claimed to have carried out the deadly 
and tragic Holey Artisan massacre on July 
1, 2016.  

In yet another piece of major news that 
appeared on the last day of February, the 
Ministry of Finance of the Government 
of Bangladesh, in a document prepared 
for the International Monetary Fund 
(IMF), expressed concern that due to 
the significant recent increase in imports 
without a corresponding increase of the 
same proportion in exports, there was 
likely to be further depreciation of the 
Bangladesh Taka (BDT) vis-à-vis the US 

On February 03, 2018, the DSE main index, 

the DSEX, witnessed a decline of 133.15 

points, the highest fall in more than four and 

half years, amidst a rather severe liquidity 

crisis and fear of rising political tensions in an 

election year. The same day, the DSEX plunged 

below the 6,000 level for the first time since 

October 30, 2017.