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Bangladesh investors unfazed by stock market crash

Savvy Catholics stay calm in midst of protests

Bangladesh investors unfazed by stock market crash
Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission reporter, Dhaka

January 11, 2011

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Several Catholic investors in Bangladesh say they are not over-concerned by the worst stock market crash in the nation’s history but many other small investors lost everything. Share prices went into free fall yesterday after several weeks of decline and topsy-turvy trading. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) instructed exchanges to suspend trading after the Dhaka Stock Exchange General Index (DSE) slumped by 660 points and Selective Categories Index of the Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) fell by 914 points. Thousands of angry investors later battled police in the streets and attacked SEC offices in Dhaka and Chittagong yesterday as the crash left them penniless. Protesters vandalized vehicles and set them on fire. One hundred people including some police were left injured. Violent protests also took place in the nation’s eight divisional capitals. “I’m not afraid of the fall because it happens,” said Kollol Kuluntunu, a 27-year-old Catholic investor. “The market will go up again. Patience is a great virtue for share investors,” he added. Over three million mostly small and medium-scale retail investors are estimated to have lost millions in the crash, which was worse than a 1996 share bust. “I’m not much worried because I can recover from the loss. I hope the market will reverse to its normal trend,” said Prodip Gomes, noting that he had lost 20 percent of the value of his investments. Ripon Rodrigues, who has been a share trader for 10 years said it was the worst fall he experienced. “I’m facing a loss but I am not so worried,” he said. “But I feel pity for those investors who lost everything.” A recent study revealed that about 6 percent of educated Christians invest in the share market. Many obtain investment funds through low-interest loans from various Church credit unions. BA12802.1636
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