BB Announces New Monetary Policy

Unveiling an 'expansionary and accommodative’ monetary policy statement (MPS), Bangladesh Bank (BB) has projected a domestic credit growth ceiling at 19.3 percent in the fiscal year 2020-21 (FY21) accommodating 14.80 percent credit growth in the private sector and 44.4 percent in the public sector.

''The prime objectives of the monetary policy stance and monetary programs for FY21 are the recovery of the economy from the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic and rehabilitation of the production capacity of the economy including the restoration of the normal livelihoods of the people along with maintaining dual goals of price stability and quality growth,'' said BB Governor Fazle Kabir at a written statement here today.

He said the key considerations of this MPS would, therefore, be to adopt a strategy so that the adequate financing support will be available to all the priority sectors like agriculture, CMSMEs, manufacturing industries and so on with the options of necessary adjustment to match the demand of the specific sectors where essential.

Based on these considerations, BB's monetary policy stance and monetary programs for FY21 are essentially expansionary and accommodative for all growth support needs without impairing attainment of the targeted inflation containment, he added.

Fazle Kabir said despite countrywide unprecedented lockdown from 26 March to 30 May 2020 owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the uninterrupted banking and mobile financial services for all in the country have been effectively maintained by BB.

He said the central bank took a series of instant and proactive policy initiatives to minimize any possible economic losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“BB has used its available monetary policy instruments, like, cash reserve ratio (CRR), repo facility (interest rate and tenor), refinancing facility and other monetary condition easing initiatives to inject necessary liquidity in the market including the recent formation of a credit guarantee scheme to support cottage, micro and small enterprises that lack adequate assets to pledge for bank loans are noteworthy,” he added.

He said all these policy measures are taken to help generate employment opportunities in agriculture, industry and services sectors so that the COVID-19 pandemic related economic losses could be recovered fast.

“As a part of BB’s expansionary monetary policy stance and supporting the preparedness for additional demand for funds, this MPS is proposing a further cut in the overnight repo rate from 5.25 percent to 4.75 percent and a reduction of reverse repo rate from 4.75 percent to 4 percent, ensuring the availability of less costly funds for banks and rationalizing the policy rates’ corridor (the gap between the repo and reverse repo rates),” he added.

Moreover, he said, the bank rate which remained unchanged for the last 17 years (since 2003) has also been considered to be reduced from 5 percent to 4 percent to rationalize it with the current interest rate regime and all these rates change will be in effect soon.

Fazle Kabir said there are several risk factors to the attainment of FY21 monetary policy program objectives mainly arising from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, seasonal floods, and international sluggish economic and volatile price situations resulting in slower than expected economic activities, formation of unexpected commodity price bubbles, and building-up of undue bad assets of banks.

BB will remain fully engaged and vigilant in monitoring and taking timely actions, where necessary, he added.

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