Bangladesh orders bad debt write-offs

The Central Bank of Bangladesh has introduced a major economic initiative ahead of a general strike on Friday over rises in fuel prices.

It has ordered about 50 commercial banks to write off their bad debts by cancelling loans that are more than five years old and unlikely to be repaid. This is the first time commercial banks have been allowed to write off bad debts - estimated to total about $2.5bn - in such a way.

Fakhruddin Ahmed, the central bank governor, said the decision would enable the

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