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The Financial Express

Stock market to remain shut until May 30

‘Prolonged closure puts market’s reputation at stake, irks many investors’


FE Report | Published: May 15, 2020 09:28:30 | Updated: May 19, 2020 12:20:06


Stock market to remain shut until May 30

The country's two bourses will remain closed until May 30 as the government further extended the ongoing holidays to flatten the spread of deadly coronavirus in the country.

This is the seventh time the general holidays have been extended.

The government has extended the ongoing shutdown until May 30, including Eid-ul-Fitr and weekly holidays, as the death toll from Covid-19 and the number of detected patients continued to rise.

The trading and settlement activities on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) will remain closed in line with the government holidays, said a DSE official.

The Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE), will also remain closed until May 30, said a CSE official.

The CSE earlier said in a statement that if the government extends the ongoing holidays further, the trading and official activities will also remain shut in line with the gazette notification.

Earlier, DSE sought permission from the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) for resumption of trading and settlement activities from May 10.

The prime bourse also urged the government to include the stock market in the emergency services list and sought some exemptions from complying with various rules as trading could not be resumed without the waivers amid ongoing pandemic.

BSEC officials, however, said the commission could not provide the waivers without a commission meeting, while the commission now faces a quorum crisis.

The Ministry of Public Administration issued a gazette notification on Thursday noon extending the ongoing closure until May 30, including Eid-ul-Fitr, weekly and special holidays.

Earlier on March 23, the government initially declared 10 days general holidays for all public and private offices from March 26 to April 4.

Later, it was extended until April 11 and then to April 14. It was then extended to April 25 in the fourth phase and later, to May 5 and then till May 16 due to rising cases of Covid-19 in Bangladesh.

The trading and settlement activities on the bourses remained closed since March 26 in line with the government holidays.

However, Bangladesh is the only country in the world now where stock trading has remained closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The longest closure of the stock market since the Liberation War would hurt the image of the markets globally, said an analyst.

The main blow would come if the country's capital market is excluded from the MSCI Index.

The index captures mid-and large caps across more than two dozen emerging markets. It is a float-adjusted market capitalisation index. The MSCI Bangladesh Index was launched in 2009.

If the trading suspension continues, it may be excluded from the index in the next re-arrangement, said a broker, who deals with foreign investors.

If Bangladesh is removed from the index, a huge sell pressure would occur naturally, as many foreign fund managers invest on the basis of the index, he said.

Rakibur Rahman, one of the directors of the DSE, however, is in favour of resuming trading amid ongoing pandemic as many investors could not withdraw funds before the closure.

Besides, stock exchanges around the world are open despite coronavirus lockdowns, he said

Earlier, an international institutional investor also demanded resumption of trading of Bangladesh's stockmarket.

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