Stocks Surge in Bangladesh as Exchanges Reopen After Two Months

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Bangladesh’s benchmark equity index rose after stock markets opened following a two-month trading halt, as investors bet the government ending a nationwide lockdown will revive economic growth.

The DSE Broad Index advanced 1.3% Dhaka on Sunday, rising to its highest level since March 12. Stocks last traded on March 25, marking the longest trading halt since 1976.

Investors are betting the move to end the lockdown May 30 will help the economy eke out a gain, even as other nations across the world face contractions because of the pandemic. The World Bank forecasts Bangladesh’s $274 billion economy will expand as much as 3% in the year ending June.

Still, the nation’s garment industry, which accounts for 13% of gross domestic product, is reeling from order cancellations, while the two-month-lockdown has also hurt other industries. European and U.S. buyers have canceled or suspended $3.2 billion of orders since March, according to the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.

“Bangladesh’s economy will be significantly impacted by the pandemic,” the World Bank said in a report in April. “The decline in national and global demand for manufactured goods, particularly in the garment sector, risks creating unemployment and deeper poverty.”

Bangladesh has more than 44,000 confirmed cases of the virus and has already borrowed $1.68 billion from lenders, including $732 million from the International Monetary Fund, to tackle the pandemic. The government’s social protection and economic stimulus package topped 1 trillion taka ($11.8 billion), or 3.6% of the country’s GDP.

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