Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The Bangladesh Business News (BBN) prepares the morning business round up compiling reports, published by different newspapers and news portals in Bangladesh.

ConocoPhillips to continue exploration in other blocks: The refusal of ConocoPhillips to sign production-sharing contract (PSC) for shallow water block SS-07 in the Bay of Bengal will not affect the US-based company's exploration activities in other blocks, a company insider said. "The decision on block SS-07 does not impact ConocoPhillips' commitment to exploration activities in Bangladesh," said the official.

New banks struggle to get business: The nine new banks which opened last year are struggling to gain any traction in their business, as too many banks chase a limited customer pool amid sluggish economic activities. As of February 20, the average advance-deposit ratio (ADR) of the nine new banks stood at only 54 percent, meaning the banks lent only Tk 54 against a deposit of Tk 100, which is much lower than the industry average of 70.35 percent and the Bangladesh Bank ceiling of 85 percent. Of the new banks, Modhumoti Bank's ADR was only 15 percent, the lowest, followed by The Farmers Bank at 23.46 percent and NRB Bank 24.10 percent, according to data from Bangladesh Bank.

ADB for prior consultation with BSEC before BB issues instructions: The Asian Development Bank has asked the central bank to consult with the capital market regulator before it issues directives to banks on regulating their investment in stock business, a suggestion aimed at averting any panic among investors. The recommendation of the manila-based regional development bank came after Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission raised concern over a recent notice of the central bank, issued in late February, limiting the banks’ exposure in the capital market, a senior finance ministry official said.

Govt submits GSP progress report: The commerce ministry yesterday submitted the progress report on the 16-point action plan for reinstatement of GSP status to Obama administration. “Bangladesh made a good progress in the action plan. The US has already expressed satisfaction over the progress,” Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said. Although not all the 16 points on the action plan were fulfilled, the government is hopeful that it would go some way towards winning back the Generalised System of Preferences status. One of the major conditions was to recruit additional 200 factory inspectors by April 15, but, so far, the labour and employment ministry has taken only 25 first-class inspectors through the Public Service Commission.

Trade deficit tops $3.56b in eight months: The country’s trade deficit narrowed by 22.57 per cent in the first eight months of the current financial year 2013-14 compared with that of the same period of the FY13 due to a rise in exports against a poor growth in imports. According to Bangladesh Bank data to be released today, the deficit decreased to $3.56 billion in July-February of the FY14 from $4.59 billion in the same period of the FY13. The trade deficit, however, increased by $774 million in February from the total figure of $2.78 in July-January this year as the import of food grains and other commodity products posted a higher growth in the month.

Apparel makers want to open outlets in UK: Leaders of the newly formed UK Bangladesh Catalysts of Commerce and Industry Ltd yesterday demanded that the government allow the transfer of money to invest in opening showrooms for clothing items in the UK. “The government should allow garment exporters to invest 5-10 percent of their export value on opening showrooms in the UK, as there is a big market in that country,” said Iqbal Ahmed, chairman of the platform. “If the government allows opening showrooms, country branding will also take place in the UK,” Ahmed said in a meeting with Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), at the latter's office in Dhaka.

DSE introduces new trading settlement system from April 16: The country’s prime bourse –Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) is going to introduce T+2 (Trading day plus 2) trading settlement system from Wednesday, replacing the existing T+3 trading cycle. The new settlement cycle will allow maturity of shares in two trading sessions instead of current three trading sessions, meaning investors would be able to sell shares after two trading sessions of purchase instead of present three days.

Alliance to pay wages for 2 months during factory closure: The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of North American retailers, on Tuesday informed the government that it would make payments for workers’ wages for two months if any of the garment factories was closed as per the suggestion of the Alliance experts during safety inspections. The visiting chair of the Alliance, Ellen O Tauscher, made the announcement at a meeting with the government officials at the labour ministry in the capital.

BBN/SSR/AD-16Apr14-10:24 am (BST0