Finance ministry favours signing free trade deals
The Ministry of Finance has given the go-ahead to the Ministry of Commerce to move forward towards signing bilateral and multilateral free trade area (FTA) agreements with developed and developing countries. The finance ministry’s green light came as it gave its opinion on Bangladesh’s signing FTAs. A recent meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had asked the relevant ministries and divisions to take steps for signing the FTAs after conducting feasibility studies. Bangladesh’s large trade gap with many countries can be minimised through signing FTAs since it will help raise goods exports. It suggested that Bangladesh go for signing bilateral and multilateral FTAs for market the expansion to boost exports while attracting foreign investments. The finance ministry, in this case, cited China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Pakistan, Japan, Argentina, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Sri Lanka, and Saudi Arabia as potential countries for signing FTAs. So far, Bangladesh has made progress in signing FTA deals with Sri Lanka and China. A study by Bangladesh Tariff Commission found on signing the free trade area deal with Sri Lanka to be beneficial for Dhaka. The amount of revenue loss from FTAs needs to be calculated and removing non-tariff barriers has to be addressed.
Total premium income of pvt life insurance companies rises to Tk 77,318m in 2017
The total premium income of private life insurance companies increased to Tk 77,318 million in 2017 against Tk 70,954 million in 2016. The total assets of the private life insurance companies also rose to Tk 370,565 million in 2017 as against Tk 327,676 million in 2016. The figures were disclosed at the latest annual report of Bangladesh Insurance Association, placed in the 31st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association held at Dhaka Club on Monday. The gross premium income of non-life private insurance companies increased from Tk 25,393 million in 2016 to Tk 26,694 million in 2017 registering a growth rate of 5.12 per cent. The total assets stood at Tk 75,495 million in 2017 whereas it was Tk 67,847 million in 2016. The total investment stood at Tk 38,635 million in 2017 while, it was Tk 34,017 million in 2016. The AGM was presided over by Sheikh Kabir Hossain, president, Bangladesh Insurance Association. The Chairmen, Directors and Chief Executive Officers of insurance companies also attended. The AGM adopted the audited accounts of the Association and the report of the auditors for the year ended on 31st December, 2017.
Apparel industry building sustainable businesses
Markets earlier used to solely depend on supply and demand, and the prices and profit were contingent upon these forces. However, the emerging trends of the global economy are disrupting the economy in ways where businesses need to adapt to the increasingly informed consumers, agile digital competitors, and new customer segments brought by the connectivity of information technology. The first industrial revolution used water and steam power to mechanise production. The second used electric power to create mass production. The third used electronics and information technology to automate the production process. Now the fourth industrial revolution is building on the third and it is a digital revolution that synthesises its preceding revolutions. Private and public stakeholders who foresee this necessity have started to convene to align themselves in re-designing the economy, as exemplified by the Thought Leadership programme by Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The programme also congregated leading established businesses in the apparel industry and stakeholders of the supply chain. Innovation is not necessarily a new invention. Innovation becomes the structural transformation of the ecosystem when best practices raise awareness. A best example is H&M Plus, which aims to utilise 100 percent recyclable products as part of the company’s endeavour to create a circular economy and lower the risks of climate change. Institutions, businesses, and people are shaping a different future of the different economic system where profit will be generated through shared and agreed upon values of society and community, as opposed to the previous and linear process of consumerism.
Eastern Cables to pay 10pc stock dividend
The board of directors of Eastern Cables Ltd has recommended 10 per cent stock dividend for the year ended on June 30, 2018, said an official disclosure on Monday. The final approval of the dividend will come during the annual general meeting (AGM) scheduled to be held on January 26, 2019. The state-run company will hold two AGMs — 31st and 32nd -on January 26, 2019 (as per court order) on the factory premises in Chittagong. The record date for entitlement of dividend is on December 24. The company has also reported earnings per share (EPS) of Tk 0.15 in the negative, net asset value (NAV) per share of Tk 30.47 and net operating cash flow per share (NOCFPS) of Tk 2.19 for the year ended on June 30, 2018 as against Tk 1.19, Tk 30.61 and Tk 1.89 respectively for the year ended on June 30, 2017. The sponsor-directors own 0.01 per cent stake in the company, while government owns 51 per cent, institutional investors own 11.50 per cent and the general public 37.49 per cent as on October 31, 2018.
Unilever to buy 82pc of GSK Bangladesh
Unilever is set to buy 82 percent stakes in GlaxoSmithKline’s health food and drinks business in Bangladesh for Tk 1,640 crore, as part of the Anglo-Dutch company’s push to cash in on Asia’s fast-growing economies. It is also purchasing GSK’s entire health food and drinks portfolio in India as well as in 20 other Asian countries for 3.3 billion euros (about $3.74 billion), after it fought off competition from rivals Nestle and Coca-Cola. The remaining stakes of GSK Bangladesh, which is listed on Dhaka Stock Exchange, are held by institutes, foreigners and local individuals. GSK’s shares yesterday jumped about 4 percent to Tk 1,378, up from Tk 1,084 a share a week earlier. As per yesterday’s price, the company’s market value stood at Tk 1,594.50 crore, which is Tk 45.50 crore less than the price offered by Unilever. The merger values GSK India at Rs 31,700 crore in total, or Rs 7,540 per share, a 15.4 percent premium to the undisturbed share price of Rs 6,531 as at the close of business on March 26. The deal, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2019, also marks a rare chance to acquire a fast-growing product in an emerging market where consumers’ diets are changing as income per head grows. GSK said its net proceeds from the deal, after tax and hedging costs, were expected to be around 2.4 billion pounds ($3.1 billion). The decision to sell the business comes to support GSK’s $13 billion buyout of Novartis’ stake in their consumer healthcare joint venture earlier this year. The buyout gave GSK full control of products, including Sensodyne toothpaste, Panadol headache tablets, muscle gel Voltaren and Nicotinell patches.
China agrees $9b currency swap with Argentina
China and Argentina signed a $9 billion currency swap deal to boost the crisis-stricken South American country’s foreign currency reserves, its central bank announced Sunday. Struggling to recover after a currency crisis earlier this year, Latin America’s third largest economy sought the help of the International Monetary Fund — which approved a $56 billion loan package. The agreement followed the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, as Chinese President Xi Jinping was received by his Argentine counterpart Mauricio Macri for a state visit. The two countries signed 30 trade and financial agreements in total. In 2017, the relationship was firmly in Beijing’s favor: China exported $17 billion of goods to Argentina, while importing $8 billion of goods from that country. Beijing and Buenos Aires also agreed another currency swap in 2014, which provided $11 billion for Argentina’s depleted treasury reserves.
Local and Global Stock Indices *
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
World Commodities *
|Commodity||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)||$ 53.53||↑0.58||↑1.10%|
|Crude Oil (Brent)||$ 62.31||↑0.62||↑1.01%|
|Gold Spot||$ 1,235.71||↑5.04||↑0.41%|
Major Currencies Exchange Rates Movement in Last Seven Days *
|USD 1||BDT 84.8513|
|GBP 1||BDT 108.1260|
|EUR 1||BDT 95.5184|
|INR 1||BDT 1.2036|
*CURRENCIES AND COMMODITIES ARE TAKEN FROM BLOOMBERG.