Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)– After several years of warning to act on labour standards that fell on deaf ears, the US has finally initiated actions that may take away Bangladeshi products’ duty-free access to the US. The United States Trade Representative on December 21, 2012 sent a letter to Commerce Minister GM Quader stating that, “We are beginning to consider options that would affect Bangladesh’s continued eligibility for benefits under the GSP”.
The investment limit of banks in the capital market will be fixed at 40 per cent of their paid-up capital to address liquidity crisis in the market, Finance Minister AMA Muhith Sunday said, adding that the investment ceiling will gradually be brought down to 25 per cent over the next three years
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to address the nation in a couple of days, PM’s special assistant (media) Mahbubul Hoque Shakil said on Sunday. He said the Prime Minister will address the nation following an evaluation of her government’s activities and assessment of the public evaluations of her government’s last four years’ performance.
Concerted efforts to promote gender equality have enabled Bangladesh to outperform India in all social indicators, said Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Saturday. “The large number of women health workers or schoolteachers has actually helped them [Bangladesh] to overtake India in every aspect of Human Development Index,” The Hindu quoted him as saying. 
The central bank of Bangladesh asked the state-owned Janata Bank Limited (JBL) Sunday to prepare a strategic plan in consultation with its board of directors for implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the former, officials said. 
Transactions in over-the-counter (OTC) market were much higher in the just concluded year than the previous year, both in terms of volume and value. More than 50 lakh shares of 21 firms were traded on a value of around Tk 3.50 crore at the OTC market last year, according to the Dhaka Stock Exchange.
Around two lakh shares of 22 firms were traded in 2011 on a value of Tk 73.13 lakh on the market, which is a platform for junk companies. 
The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) has decided to measure consumer price index (CPI) by using only new base year from this month, rejecting appeals for continuation of old baseline along with the new ones by many. 
The Microcredit Regulatory Authority has taken further move to trim down the rate of interest at which the micro finance institutions are lending money to their clients who are mostly poor. Currently no MFI is allowed to provide loans at more than 27 per cent rate of interest to their clients. ‘Now, we are working to cut down on the rate again,’ Khandakar Muzharul Haque, executive vice-chairman of the MRA, told New Age on Sunday. 
Stocks ended flat yesterday as institutional investors remained inactive mainly due to the ongoing downtrend and a low participation of retail investors amid a countrywide shutdown. DGEN, the benchmark general index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, closed at 4,163.74 points, after rising 2.86 points or 0.07 percent.
BBN/SSR/AD-07Jan13-9:50 am (BST)