The yield of 10-year government bonds has risen to 12.05 percent, the highest in a decade, amid tight liquidity in the market, indicating that money will turn expensive, said market insiders. The government borrowed just over Tk 1,500 crore through auctions against bids offering Tk 2,000 crore, according to sources in the banking industry. The increase in the yield shows that there is a dearth of liquidity in the market, the treasury chief of a private bank told the Daily Star.

The interest rate of 10-year bonds rose in the footsteps of that of two other bonds -- one of a two-year maturity period and another of five years -- in auctions that took place in the past two weeks. The yields of treasury bills and bonds have been rising gradually since March 2022 as Bangladesh Bank has been gradually tightening money supply in order to bring down inflation, which has been prevailing at over 9 percent since March last year.

The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) revealed that suspicious transactions related to bank loans increased more than fourfold in the past couple of years due to significant loan scams. BFIU head Md Masud Biswas disclosed the information while unveiling the unit's annual report for the financial year 2022-23 at a press conference at the Bangladesh Bank headquarters in the capital Dhaka. The BFIU is acting as the central agency of Bangladesh to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation of financing for weapons of mass destruction.

The BFIU received a total of 14,106 suspicious reports comprising 9,769 suspicious transaction reports and 4,337 suspicious activity reports in FY23, which is 64.58 percent higher than the previous year's 8,571 reports. Of them, the number of incidents of suspicious transactions related to bank loans shot up to 520 in FY23, which was 341 in FY22 and 98 in FY21. The BFIU identified several reasons for the surge in suspicious transaction incidents related to bank loans.

India decided to allow exports of onions in the government-to-government mode to Bangladesh and five other countries, on the recommendation of its External Affairs Ministry. The Bangladesh government had written a formal letter to India to allow certain quantities of sugar and onion in order to bring down their prices in the domestic market during the holy month of Ramadan.

The world's second largest onion exporter had banned the overseas shipment of the kitchen essential in December 2023 and later extended it till March this year to contain its rising prices and ensure adequate availability in domestic markets ahead of coming national elections. It was later learned that New Delhi permitted traders to export a total of 54,760 tonnes of onion to Bangladesh, Mauritius, Bahrain and Bhutan till March 31, while the overall ban still stays in place. Bangladesh received by far the biggest exemption, for 50,000 tonnes, followed by 3,000 tonnes for Bahrain, 1,200 tonnes to Mauritius and 560 tonnes to Bhutan.

The Industries Ministry backtracked from a decision to hike the prices of sugar produced by state-run sugar mills. The government has changed the decision considering the suffering of people, the ministry said in a statement that came hours after Bangladesh Sugar and Food Industries Corporation (BSFIC), which runs state sugar mills, increased the retail price of its sweetener by 14 percent to a historic high of Tk 160 for each kilogramme.

At present, people in Dhaka city buy sugar at Tk 135-Tk 140 per kg in the retail market, price data compiled by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh showed. TCB said it had increased the price in line with the rates of sugar in both domestic and international markets. The BSFIC produced nearly 11,000 tonnes of sugar between July and December of the current financial year of 2023-24, up 20 percent from 9,066 tonnes a year ago. The corporation said it will sell sugar at the previous rate of Tk 140 per kg.

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