Vol. 5 Num 215 Fri. December 31, 2004  
Front Page

Cash crunch shoots up call money rate to 60pc
Dollar also becomes costlier

Call money rate shot up to 60 percent and dollar rose further against taka as cry for cash heated up the money market yesterday, the last banking day of the year 2004.

With all private commercial banks (PCBs) making last-ditch efforts to increase earnings to show a rosy balance sheet of the outgoing calendar year, the well-off ones charged high for money at call as liquidity crisis persists.

Nationalised commercial banks (NCBs) offered the quick money at 22 percent interest but some PCBs charged 48 to 55 percent in inter-bank call money deals. As cash money dried up at the end of the day due to the year-end withdrawal rush, some deals with the PCBs and leasing companies closed at 60 percent.

Dollar exchange rate jumped to Tk 61.78 yesterday compared to Tk 61.60 on Wednesday in inter-bank foreign exchange market.

As banks persuaded clients for increased and early opening of L/C to add the income from the service to this calendar year, dollar started to increase its value against Bangladesh currency for the last few days. The greenback hit Tk 61.3 on Tuesday.

Faced with liquidity crunch, some PCBs tried to resort to Bangladesh Bank's (BB) repurchase agreement (Repo) facility. The PCBs applied for Tk 396 crore yesterday to overcome the cash crunch but the central bank turned down the applications.

BB sources said had the fund management of those banks been efficient, the liquidity crisis would not have occurred. BB authorities said as banks get money at four to five percent interest under Repo arrangement, they usually tend to use the funds in money market to earn quick bucks.

Fund managers also blamed the liquidity crisis on last week's reverse Repo through which the central bank took Tk 500 crore from the NCBs.

According to new regulations, commercial banks have to maintain three percent of the total deposits with the central bank as cash reserve ratio (CRR) requirements. The banks are required however to adjust and maintain the CRR at four percent on the last day of a month.

As yesterday was the last office day of this month, banks searched for cash to adjust the CRR requirements, which also contributed to the rise in call money rate, fund managers said.