Banks in Dhaka were almost deserted on Thursday with most businesses shut amid a coronavirus lockdown with stricter rules and a ban on public movement.
The stock market indices rose on the first day of trading amid the new lockdown that began on Wednesday, a public holiday on the occasion of Pahela Baishakh.
The government has allowed banking from 10am to 1pm during the lockdown. Trading on the stock market is continuing from 10am to 12:30pm.
At least one branch of a bank should be open every 2.0 km in a city corporation area, reports bdnews24.com.
Also, at least one branch of each bank must stay open at Upazilas on Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday.
A small number of transactions were made at the government and private banks in Mouchak and Mogbazar between 10:30am and 11:30am.
The Mouchak branch of Eastern Bank Limited had no customer at its counters manned by a few personnel around 11:30am. Bank Asia’s Mouchak branch had a handful of customers coming for transactions around 11:15am. Only two customers were found at the Moghbazar branch of Sonali Bank at 11:30am.
Ariful Haque, an official of First Security Islami Bank, said he thinks very few customers were coming for transactions because they are unaware that banks are open.
Moreover, most of the customers finished transactions and other tasks on Tuesday thinking that they will be closed during the lockdown, he said.
“The real picture will be clear on Sunday. We’ll see whether there will be crowds,” Ariful said.
Mohsinur Rahman, first vice president of United Commercial Bank, pointed out two more reasons behind the absence of customers.
“Firstly, most of the customers finished banking on Tuesday; secondly, many of them couldn’t travel due to the lack of a lockdown pass, they told us. Businesses were shut as well,” he said.
The main index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, DSEX, gained 51 points or nearly 1.0 per cent to 5310 while the CASPI index of Chittagong Stock Exchange rose by 184 points or 1.21 per cent to 15379.
Shakil Rizvi, a former DSE president, said the indices rose because the investors shook off fears about a closure due to the lockdown.
“Many investors were drawing their money out of the market out of fear. Now that has stopped as well,” said Ahmed Rashid Lali, former president of DSE Brokerage Association of Bangladesh.
At DSE, 358 shares of companies and mutual funds changed hands. As many as 217 issues gained, 92 dropped and 49 remained unchanged.
The price of 144 shares and mutual funds advanced at CSE. As many as 64 dropped and 21 remained unchanged.