Bangladeshi Stock Market in free fall

Posted on November 15, 2011

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A steep fall in share prices continued for a third day yesterday, prompting the prime minister to call a maiden emergency meeting with market stakeholders today.

The 4.67 percent fall at the close of trade at Dhaka Stock Exchange also set off protests by some retail investors in the busy financial hub of Motijheel.

Sheikh Hasina will sit with the stakeholders at Gono Bhaban to discuss the current stockmarket situation, Prof M Khairul Hossain, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, told newsmen.

The government is highly concerned about the stockmarket, he mentioned.

Apart from the SEC chief, the finance minister, central bank governor, Bank and Financial Institutions Division secretary, National Board of Revenue chairman, chief of Investment Corporation of Bangladesh, leaders of Bangladesh Insurance Association, Bangladesh Association of Banks, Association of Bankers, Bangladesh, and presidents of Dhaka and Chittagong bourses will attend the meeting.

Earlier on yesterday noon, the prime minister called upon the SEC chairman at her office and instructed him to take all necessary measures to stabilise the market, which is now on the verge of a second crash in a year.

“We informed the prime minister about the overall situation in the stockmarket…. She directed the commission to take immediate measures considering the current market situation and bring back normalcy in the market,” said Khairul.

The General Index, DGEN, of the premier bourse on Monday dipped below the psychological 5,000 points level for the first time in two years.

At the close of yesterday’s trade, the DGEN stood at 4,649 after shedding 228 points. The market breadth, which indicates the health of the market, was also very negative as only eight securities traded higher, while 239 lost their values.

“The prime index of the DSE continued to dive further below as the investors put tremendous pressure on selling,” observed Green Delta Securities in its regular market analysis.

According to the stockbroker, all the recent initiatives of the government failed to stabilise the market. “Some experts believe that the financial crisis around the world is slowing down our economy and also causing the downtrend in the capital market in that process.”

Faruq Ahmad Siddiqi, a former chairman of the SEC, however, said the economic factors do not put direct impact on the market.

“The main problem in the market now is the loss of confidence among the investors,” he pointed out.

Protesting the continuous free fall in stock prices, a group of small investors under a banner of Bangladesh Capital Market Investors’ Unity Council took to the streets in front of DSE and Bangladesh Bank offices in the capital.

Vehicular movement between Shapla square and Ittefaq crossing came to a halt around noon for hours.

Aggrieved investors set fire to wooden and paper stuffs, chanted slogans and demanded a shut of stock trading until the market is stabilised through government intervention.

They announced to continue their demonstration today and left the streets around 5:30pm.

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Posted in: Bangladesh