Bangladesh eyes $35b slice of Saudi market
Bangladesh looks to gain a foothold in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) with seven potential products, including food and beverage, apparel, and jute and leather, products which are now sourced from the global market for $35 billion annually. Ceramic, pharmaceutical, and plastics also have good demand in this market – where Dhaka currently has a stake of less than $300 million. According to the International Trade Centre (ITC) data, Saudi Arabia’s imports stood at $152.34 billion in 2021. China is the KSA’s largest export source, $31.07 billion, followed by the USA, UAE, India and Germany. On the other hand, Bangladesh exported only $290 million in FY2022, of which apparel shipments amounted to about $144million, according to the EPB. Saudi Arabia is the country’s 24th largest export partner out of 202 destinations, while the country is also the 26th largest destination for apparel shipments. Pran-RFL exported goods worth $532 million in FY22, while it also set a target to export products worth $1 billion by 2025. According to the International Trade Centre data, in 2020, the UAE sourced about $4.40 billion worth of apparel items from global markets.
Reserves drop to $39.04b as dollar sales continue
The country’s foreign exchange reserves dropped to $39.04 billion on Tuesday after the Bangladesh Bank sold $153 million to banks for import bill payments. In the current fiscal year starting in July, the central bank has so far sold around $2.44 billion. It had sold a record $7.62 billion from reserves in the last fiscal year. According to the central bank, it sold more than $150 million for the second consecutive day. On Monday, $164 million was sold from the reserves. At the end of July, the reserves stood at $39.60 billion. If the dollar sale continues in this pace, the reserves may fall below $39 billion within a short period. State-owned banks have expressed relief at increasing dollar support from the central bank. According to them, this results in less dependence on the market for dollars. On Tuesday, state-owned banks sold dollars in import LC settlements at a maximum Tk108. The highest rate of Tk109 was charged on Monday. But private banks have been charging slightly lower for dollars in LC settlements for the last few days. Despite a slight drop in banks, dollar rates have gone up in the open market. On Tuesday, money changers sold the greenback at Tk112, up from Tk111 on the previous day. The cash dollar was sold for Tk109 in on Thursday.
BRAC Bank, upay sign deal on fund transfer
BRAC Bank has signed an agreement with mobile financial service provider upay recently, allowing BRAC Bank customers to transfer funds from Mobile App ‘ASTHA’ to their upay accounts. Users can transfer up to Tk 50,000 to upay account in a day. Soon, upay customers will be able to transfer fund to BRAC Bank account from their upay account as well.