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10 December 2023

Protests as Bangladesh shares suffer record fall


Hundreds of investors held demonstrations in cities across Bangladesh on Sunday after the country's main stock exchange plunged nearly eight percent in its steepest ever daily fall.

The benchmark Dhaka Stock Exchange general index (DGEN) lost 600 points or 7.76 percent to close at 7135.02 as panic gripped investors who have enjoyed massive gains over the last two years.

Local police chief Tofazzal Hossain said at least 300 investors chanted slogans near the stock exchange building in the capital Dhaka.

"We have had enough security including 50 policemen and Rapid Action Battalion forces. The protesters tried to gather but we prevented trouble," he told AFP.

Sunday's loss was the highest in the DSE's more than 50-year history, with dealers saying corrections are long overdue.

The previous biggest daily fall was 6.72 percent on December 19, when protests turned violent with investors throwing bricks at riot police.

The DGEN index rose by 80 percent in 2010 but has lost 20 percent in the last three weeks.

In the northwestern city of Rajshahi, more than 150 investors staged protests, city police chief Mohammad Obaidullah said.

Similar protests were held in the southwestern city of Khulna.

"We have long said the market went up too high. It was unsustainable," Reaz Islam, head of LR Global, a New York-based fund, told AFP. "Now that the market is on a slippery slope, it has created panic among investors."